DT 26694 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26694

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26694

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Two puzzles from Ray T in the same week – and I get to review both of them! This one has the usual double entendre and a trademark Queen clue.

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    Frisky pair, later on common (11)
{PROLETARIAN} – an anagram (frisky) of PAIR LATER ON gives a word meaning common or working-class

10a    Attack Sergeant-Major holding hill (5)
{STORM} – this attack is created by putting the abbreviation of Sergeant-Major around (holding) another word for a hill

11a    Hot spot for chicks (9)
{INCUBATOR} – a cryptic definition of an apparatus used to hatch eggs

12a    White bra, at least, almost undone (9)
{ALABASTER} – this word meaning coloured like a translucent form of gypsum is an anagram (undone) of most of BRA AT LEAS(T)

13a    Run over by front of combine in harvest (5)
{RECAP} – a word meaning to run over or summarize is created by putting the initial letter (front) of Combine inside a word meaning to harvest

14a    Unearth dead containing old carbon (6)
{LOCATE} – a verb meaning to unearth or find is created by putting a word meaning recently dead around O(ld) and C(arbon)

16a    Scientists cite negativity holding back development (8)
{GENETICS} – hidden inside (holding) and reversed (back) the first three words of the clue is a word meaning development or inherited characteristics

18a    Comfortable outside in cushy job (8)
{SINECURE} – put a word meaning comfortable or safe around (outside) IN to get a cushy job

20a    Hound bird following close of club (6)
{BEAGLE} – this type of hound is created by putting a bird after the final letter (close) of cluB

23a    Twinkling, first getting tearful (5)
{MOIST} – a charade of a twinkling, as in “twinkling of an eye” and IST (first) gives a word meaning tearful

24a    ‘Singing’ covered in empty tasteless bling (9)
{TRAPPINGS} – this alleged form of “singing” inside the outside letters (empty) of T(asteles)S to get some tasteless jewellery

26a    Pain from lung area possibly including his heart (9)
{NEURALGIA} – this pain is an anagram (possibly) of LUNG AREA around (including) the middle letter (heart) of hIs

27a    Generally calm, after losing head (5)
{OFTEN} – a word meaning generally or frequently is derived by dropping the initial letter from (after losing head) a synonym for to calm

28a    Neglect before line in speech (11)
{DERELICTION} – to get this neglect, especially of one’s duty, put a three-letter poetic word for “before” and L(ine) inside speech or pronunciation


2d           Wine from rice is of Japanese Asian origins (5)
{RIOJA} – a type of wine comes from the initial letters (origins) of five letters in the clue

3d           Jesus perhaps, a good man giving reprimand (7)
{LAMBAST} – Start with the creature that is emblematic of Jesus, as in Agnus Dei and then add A and the usual good man to get a word meaning to reprimand

4d           Turns cards over and cheats (6)
{TWISTS} – a double definition – turns over one’s cards in pontoon and cheats or swindles

5d           One videos case of rare material by Queen (8)
{RECORDER} – this video machine is a charade of the outside letters (case) of R(ar)E, some material and Elizabeth Regina – I think there’s an apostrophe missing from video’s

6d           Vegetable missing in French hostelry (7)
{AUBERGE} – start with a vegetable and drop (missing) the IN to get a French hostelry

7d           Setting up shop, maybe (13)
{ESTABLISHMENT} – a double definition – the act of setting up or founding and a shop or business

8d           Handling piece of lingerie (8)
{STOCKING} – another double definition – handling or supplying and a piece of lingerie( usually coming as a pair, except at Christmas!)

9d           ‘Charming’ gang’s burning outside (13)
{PREPOSSESSING} – this adjective meaning charming is created by putting a gang of cowboys inside a word meaning burning or urgent

15d         Rest pool stick pocketing not in order (8)
{CONTINUE} – a word meaning rest or endure  is created by putting the “stick” used in the game of pool around (pocketing) an anagram (order) of NOT IN

17d         Special female ward? (8)
{PROTÉGÉE}  – a cryptic definition of a young lady who is under the protection or patronage of another person

19d         Home enclosure having extravagant interior (7)
{COTTAGE} – a country home is created by putting an enclosure around  (having … interior) an abbreviation meaning extravagant

21d         Polite, rattled, taking cross abuse (7)
{EXPLOIT} – put an anagram (rattled) of POLITE around (taking) the letter shaped like a cross to get a verb meaning to abuse or take advantage

22d         Return is about a distant trip (6)
{SAFARI} – reverse IS around A and a word meaning distant to get a trip in tropical climes

25d         Other ranks can turn up explosive (5)
{NITRO} – reverse (turn up) Other Ranks and a can to get an explosive produced by the action of nitric and sulphuric acids on glycerine

Super stuff!

The Quick crossword pun: {parish} + {hoot} = {parachute}

117 comments on “DT 26694

  1. Morning Dave, strange but I didn’t think this was a RayT today, I thought some of the readings didn’t make much sense at all, however fav clue was 6d, I put ‘tricks’ in for 4d at first which didn’t help in getting 12a! haven’t needed the hints but needed lots of electronic help to finish it

  2. Took a lot of thinking about today – got a little stuck down at the bottom, then the brain cells decided to shut down so just couldn’t see 28A. Also had to rely heavily on my O level French to get 17D (sort of worked it out, but wasn’t to sure), I’m quite amazed I can think that far back. Like Mary, my favourite was 6D – superb clue, nearly in the same league as GEGS (9,4) and HIJKLMNO (5)

  3. A pleasant difficult puzzle. Christmas is coming; can anyone suggest a really good reference book (perhaps from Chambers) for my wife to give me? I only have an Oxford Concise Dictionary dated 1957!

    1. Hi Domus, depends what you are looking for, the Chambers Dictionary (I have 11th edition, but I think there might be a later one) is well worth having (the big red book) also if you want help with synonyms etc, Chambers crosswrod dictionary is a must (mine is 2007 edition) if you can only have one off Santa, then personally, I find the second much more useful for crosswords

    2. I think you really need “The Chamber’s Dictionary” 11th edition – generally referred to, in this blog, as “The Big Red Book”. The “Chambers Crossword Dictionary” is also excellent – it has a great bit at the beginning written by Don Manley who I now know, since discovering this blog, is Giovanni. The other book that I use a lot is the “Reader’s Digest Universal Dictionary” which, unlike most dictionaries, includes countries and their capitals, currency etc etc and well known people and lots of other stuff. Mine is VERY old and falling to bits – I have feeling that it may be out of print, unfortunately. Good luck – and PLEASE don’t start talking about Christmas yet!!

      1. Don’t know if its out of print Kath but there are several ‘used but in good condition’ available on amazon for a reasonable price starting at around £7.00

    3. I’ve just bought the Chamber’s Dictionary 12th edition with thumb indexes for £30 from Play.com. They also sell the Chamber’s Crossword dictionary at a reasonable price. Others I would include are anything by Bradford & also Brewer’s Phrase & Fable. Nearly forgot good old Roget’s Thesaurus!

    4. Domus, I take it you’ll always keep and treasure your 1957 dictionary. My Penguin paperback dictionary which I got as a junior school prize in 1962 fell apart through usage/love many years ago, but I couldn’t part with it. But what a wonderful present a new one will be – lucky you.

  4. A very enjoyable puzzle that raised a few smiles along the way. Whenever I solve a RayT puzzle, with some of the amusing surface reads, I automatically think back to my collection of Tom Sharpe books!
    Thanks to RayT, and to BD for the review.

  5. Completed relatively rapidly by the two of us though delays were caused by 16a and 17d. Got the sense of the latter but the actual word remained irritatingly elusive. Not entirely convinced that translucent gypsum is necessarily the colour suggested in 12a, but let’s not nit-pick. 24a nicely combines that sort of ‘singing’ with its commonly associated jewellery. Rain at last – hooray!

  6. Loved it! I didn’t have too much trouble today, apart from the last few clues – the two long ones down each side (7 and 9d) and, for some reason which I now can’t see, 23 and 27a. I have to admit that the quick crossword gave me more grief than the cryptic – I like the quickie pun. Too many good clues to write them all down – will put just a few – 1 and 11a and 4 and 6d. With thanks to Ray T and Big Dave.
    Weather is beastly here today – grey, wet and a bit chilly. :sad: Dare I risk a look at the toughie?

    1. Go for it Kath, there are some pretty good anagrams that should get you started, and it’s quite witty too!

  7. I normally approach one of Ray T’s with trepidation but this one wasn’t too bad. Needed help with 16a, so very annoying when the answer is staring you in the face!

    1. Me too! Only one I needed help with, but am waiting for the “downs” as I’m not sure what I have is necessarily a piece of lingerie – but then, maybe it is classed as that?

      1. 9d is one of them Mary. That might open up a number of others. 3* is just beyond my capability so I’m stretching myself

        1. Try another word for burning – as in “burning issue” for example or something that is really urgent and put it around a gang more associated with Westerns when the Sheriff asks for volunteers and they all ride off after the baddy!

      1. I’ve been there, Kath, and Mary has let me off because I’ve repented, but I don’t get any drizzle cake

    1. I do. Very contrived and feels much more like a Toughie clue. Didn’t help having a brain freeze on 19d but still.

  8. As BD said above, what a treat to have two Ray T’s in a week – yes I know it will make the grumpies grump, but I loved it. Not sure I have a particular favourite, just a lovely all round good start to the day, thanks to Ray and thank you to BD too.

    The Petitjean Toughie didn’t take that long either and is very entertaining. I hope Kath, and others, will give it a go.

          1. Good luck Mary!

            It’s quite witty in places and not too hard for a Toughie.

            I can also recomment the Paul in today’s Grauniad, if you like 53 letter anagrams!

            1. Me too – recommending the Paul – although it does help if you are a certain age to solve the anagram :D

          2. Good luck Mary – don’t panic if you can’t ‘see’ anything straight away – it took a bit of perservation and then suddenly light struck!

      1. Many thanks for the welcome. Use this all the time but first time I have left a comment. Pray tell what I have done (or not) to deserve the naughty step

        1. Collywobbles has been pressing BD to provide the down clues in a rather persistent manner so has been sent there to wait and reflect. Normally people are sent to the naughty corner for revealing prize puzzle answers on a Saturday or Sunday. I believe it’s very nice there – cake is always provided.

          While you are waiting there, spare a thought for the blogger who has to download the puzzle, solve the puzzle, work out the wordplay, type out a word document, copy and paste it into the wordpress ‘add a post’ thingy, find some pictures and so on and still find time to have elevenses, lunch and possibly the odd visit to the bathroom!

            1. I’m sorry Mike, I’ve eaten it all (it’s normally drizzle cake) and I apologise humbly, unreservedly and with enormous contrition for eagerly wanting the hints before all the due processes could be completed

              1. Collywobbles

                As well as writing the main blog on a Thursday I have to solve the Toughie, key the answers in to check them and then create a template for the blog to send to Bufo, as he solves the paper version.

                Now if anyone fancies writing the Thursdy blog I would be absolutely delighted to hear from them – but be warned (as I told Pommers many months ago) it becomes addictive and you will find it difficult to solve a clue without thinking “How would I blog this?”.

                1. You’re dead right Dave, on both counts, and, no, I’m not volunteering for Thursdays. Pommette would have a fit! I could perhaps fill in for you in the weeks Falcon does the Wednesday puzzle though, I think she might wear that!

                  If there is a volunteer out there who’s thinking about it I can recommend it as a lot of fun! The thought processes required for blogging also appear to improve solving skills very quickly as I’m no longer scared witless by the thought of an Elgar Toughie – just a bit wary!

                2. Dave,

                  I know that you work hard for which we all thank you but please, get a sense of humour


                    1. You can select the RSS feed from the sidebar or, for a single post, tick the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” box when you leave a comment.

        2. See some of Collywobble’s comments above!

          Some days the hints take longer to prepare than others, and it does say that they are in preparation.

  9. I found this quite hard and it took a lot of effort. I loved 6d as well. 11a was good as well.

  10. After all of this time I stil do not recognise the setters, other than perhaps when the Quick has single word clues!
    Straight forward but very enjoyable.
    Thanks to setter and Big Dave for the hints so far!

  11. Enyaable fare from Ray.
    Faves : 12a,16a, 24a, 28a, 3d, 6d, 9d & 19d.

    Weather here still sunny but much colder – central heating on each morning now.

    Clock goes back one hour on Sunday!

    1. In the States we don’t end DST until the following weekend so I have to remember UK will be 5 hours ahead instead of 6 hours for a week. Wish they could coordinate it so that we all change at the same time.

      1. Many years ago the European countries all seemed to change on different days which was a real pain Autumn and Spring. At least now the whole EU changes on the same day!

  12. Well, having said yesterday that I found it difficult to ‘click’ with RayT this one turned out to be a breeze!
    11a and 2d are favourites (I like the wine!) but all the clues are good. A very enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks to Ray and BD.

  13. With apologies if this is a question asked before but I am interested in how fellow BD Blog followers solve anagrams.

    Most everyone I know seems to write the letters out in a circle. As this seems a dreadful waste of space I write it out in a line consonants first and then vowels.

    Others might not have need of any help and can see it from the printed word. I hope no one uses online anagram solvers!!

    Is there another way I’m missing?

    1. If I can’t see it from the printed word (I have years and years and years of practice) then I write out the anagram fodder as it is in the clue, cross through the letters I have already got and then start rearranging the left over letters until I get there.

    2. It seems to me that everyone has their own way of doing anagrams – I just write the letters in a jumble and hope that inspiration strikes. I also hope that I have the right letters which isn’t always the case!!

      1. Does that explain why we don’t hear from her any more? – She’s going round in circles :D

  14. Just back from rather soggy dog walk and about to have a go at the toughie – wish me luck, after yesterday’s effort I suspect that I will need it!

  15. Thanks to Ray T for the crossword & to BD for the review although I’m betting that if it was Gazza’s turn to review then the picture for 8d would be not so Christmassy….

  16. V enjoyable again today, though got a bit stuck on the SE corner, so thanks for hints.
    re 5d : I didn’t miss the apostrophe in videos as I took it to be a verb. Also put tricks for 4d which held things up a bit.
    what is the answer to GEGS ? i know what HIJKLMNO is , having come across it before.
    also raining here for the first time for ages, will do the grass good.

        1. There was an interview with John Halpern (Paul/Dada) on the Grauniad site where he says this is the first clue he wrote for that paper. I think it’s brill!

          Name sewn into footballers’ underwear (8).

          1. If that had been in The Sun, everyone would have got it. They wouldn’t figure it out from the clue though, just the fact it fitted.

            1. Hi kath

              The answer is KNICKERS (always a funny word to a schoolboy) – it’s N(ame) ‘sewn’ into KICKERS (footballers). Reminded me of my mum spending ages sewing name tags into shorts and shirts etc when I was a kid.

      1. Thank you, I am not in nearly an exotic place as you:near cambridge, in the well known diocese of Ely ,which features yet again today (friday)

  17. A very enjoyable puzzle. I could kick myself for not seeing 16a though.
    I interpreted the inverted commas in 24a to indicate a misconception rather than a negative allegation. I’m sure most credible rappers would associate themselves more closely with dub poetry than mere singing.

  18. We have been spoiled this week with 2 puzzles by the master. Favourite was 12 which was brilliant. This man never ceases to amaze! If you see Queen, French and bra, you know its RayT!

  19. Bah, can’t get this puzzle and not back in the UK (until tomorrow) to pick up a paper…
    Can anyone send me a PDF? :)

      1. That works! Many thanks, Dave – you’re a lifesaver who has just made my all-day flight tomorrow a lot less boring! :)

          1. And it did, Kath!
            Found it tough going, but persevered as you know with Ray T that the clues are always fair without relying on some sort of tenuous trickery!
            Great puzzle, I thought! :)

  20. Evening all. A bit late on parade this evening, but thanks yet again to BD, and to all for the encouraging comments.


  21. Thanks to Big Dave & Ray T for a nice puzzle.Needed 5 hints, but still couldn’t get ’em.had to look ’em all up ! Favourites were 6 & 22 down.

  22. In 5d, why should videos have an apostrophe? This would make it either video’s possessive or video’s as a abridgement of ‘video is’. The clue does not work with either of these meanings. ‘Videos is a verb in this instance as in something, or someone, that videos.

    1. I was going to make the same point – a recorder is something that videos, so no apostrophe required. Having said that, I think ‘to video’ is rather a hideous modern construct as a verb.

Comments are closed.