DT 26699 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26699

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26699

Hints and tips by pommers

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

Hola from the Vega Baja where it feels as though Spring has returned this week – I had my shorts on yesterday (not a pretty sight)!

Today we have an excellent pangram from Jay which isn’t very difficult, apart from a couple of trickies. I’ve given 4* for entertainment simply because when I realized I had filled in the last clue I had a real sense of disappointment that it was all over.

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.


8a           Like some rock genius confused about love? (7)
{IGNEOUS} – A type of rock, of volcanic origin, is an anagram (confused) of GENIUS and O (love). Nice anagram to get you started – my first in.

10a         Right — put vinegar initially into garlic sauce dish (7)
{RAVIOLI} – Dish is the well concealed definition, specifically an Italian pasta dish. Start with R(ight) followed by a garlic sauce and insert V (Vinegar initially into).

11a         Working mothers welcome right over a limited period (5-4)
{SHORT TERM} – A phrase meaning for a limited period of time is an anagram (working) of MOTHERS with RT (right) inserted (welcome). I had the second word wrong for a while which didn’t help with a couple of the downs – D’oh!

12a         Old-fashioned fruit salad at last (5)
{DATED} – A word meaning old-fashioned or passé is a charade of the fruit of a palm and D (salaD at last).

13a         Scrooge has name for son becoming an underground worker (5)
{MINER} – There’s nearly always a  substitution clue in a Jay puzzle and this is today’s. Take the word for what Scrooge is and replace the S with an N (Name for Son) to get a guy who works underground.

14a         Propose a posh but dramatic scene (7)
{TABLEAU} – A dramatic scene is a word for propose or put forward, a motion in a debate perhaps, followed by A (from the clue) and the usual letter for posh or upper class.

17a         Cheers up? (8,7)
{STANDING OVATION} – A cryptic definition of applause given by an audience which is on its feet.

19a         Current boyfriend’s crush (7)
{SQUEEZE} – A slang term for a romantic partner is also a word meaning to crush or press from both sides at once. This was a new one on me and required a look in the dictionary to confirm!

21a         In Scotland know why broadcast comes before a republic (5)
{KENYA} – The Scottish term for ‘know’ followed by a letter that, when pronounced (broadcast), sounds like ‘why’ and A (from the clue) gives an East African republic.

24a         Praise luck turning on former partner (5)
{EXTOL} – The usual two letters for ‘former partner’ followed by (on) a word for luck or fate reversed (turning) gives a word meaning to praise.

26a         Make an effort to follow brand in woodwork (9)
{MARQUETRY} – Another word for a brand name or trademark followed by a word meaning to make an effort or have a go gives some intricate woodwork.

27a         Trainer’s ground? Yes! (7)
{TERRAIN} – Not sure how to explain this one but I guess you’d call it an all-in-one! The definition is ground, as in land. It’s an anagram (ground) of TRAINERS,  with the ? and Yes! telling you there’s something odd going on.  I think this is my favourite and if someone has a better way of explaining it I’ll be glad to hear from you!

28a         Framework for flipping monster in most of drama (7)
{PERGOLA} – Take a word for an on-stage drama and remove the last letter (most of). Insert a word for a monster, Shrek perhaps, but reversed (flipping) and you get a framework for growing plants over a terrace.


1d           Dish requiring almost ten cents on total (3,3)
{DIM SUM} – A dish of Chinese nibbles is the word for a 10 cent coin in the USA without its last letter (almost) and a word for total or add up. I like this stuff!

2d           No man is troubled by one disorder (8)
{INSOMNIA} – A sleep disorder is an anagram (troubled) of NO MAN IS and I (one). Having just re-read that I suppose that to be strictly accurate I should have said ‘start with the I and ‘by’ it place the anagram’ but I’m not usually that picky!

3d           Crossing to pay for game for four (10)
{FOOTBRIDGE} – A way for a pedestrian to cross over a road is a charade of a word for ‘to pay’, as in **** the bill, and a card game for four people which pommette and I play, rather badly this week!

4d           Publicity in favour of movement (9)
{PROMOTION} – A word meaning in favour of followed by a synonym of movement gives a word for publicity or advertising.  Another way of looking at it is that the answer is a word meaning publicity and if you split it (3,6) you get a phrase meaning you are in favour of movement. Take your pick!

5d           Eager to help, embracing victory (4)
{AVID} – Insert (embracing) V(ictory) into a word meaning help or assistance and you get a word for eager or keen.

6d           Jack stole criminal’s barge (6)
{JOSTLE} – J(ack) followed by an anagram (criminal) of STOLE gives a word for barge, as in shove or push.

7d           Turn stream, getting the effect of exposure (8)
{WINDBURN} –A word for turn, as in coil or twist, and a Scottish term for a stream or small river gives one of the symptoms of exposure to the elements.

9d           Stop the flow of waste material (4)
{STEM} – A word for stop or staunch is hidden in waSTE Material. Nice surface to this one.

15d         Dog left in support with sentry (10)
{BLACKGUARD} – Definition is Dog, in the sense of a cad, bounder or dirty dog!  Take a word for support, insert L(eft) and follow with another word for a sentry.

16d         Sabotage ruined men’s pants (9)
{UNDERMINE} – A way to sabotage someone is an anagram (pants) of RUINED MEN.
Obvious anagram but of what? I spent some time thinking the anagram fodder was MENS PANTS, indicated by ‘ruined’ with sabotage as the definition, but that don’t work! Then I realized the correct fodder but had ‘sabotage’ as the indicator and ‘pants’ as the definition but that don’t work either! Got there in the end with a big D’oh! Think it’s back to the stupid step for me!

17d         Questions factions grabbing American power (8)
{SUSPECTS} – A word meaning questions or doubts. Take a word for factions, of a religion perhaps, and insert (grabbing) US (American) and P(ower).

18d         Firing favourite absent from planned petitioning (8)
{IGNITION} – An anagram (planned) of PETITIONING but without the initial PET (favourite absent) gives a word for firing or setting light to.

20d         Source of pride in volte-face gives improvement in fortune (6)
{UPTURN} – A volte-face or change of direction (1-4) with P (source of Pride) inserted gives an improvement in fortune or luck.

22d         Not at home around city? No matter (6)
{ANYWAY} – Definition is no matter, as in whatever. Take a word for not at home, on holiday perhaps, and insert the abbreviation for a US city on the east coast.

23d         Corner section on the way up (4)
{TRAP} – This word for corner or ensnare is a reversal (on the way up in a down clue) of a word for section or piece of something.

25d         Look — a fellow with brains! (4)
{LOAF} – The usual short word for look followed by A (from the clue) and F(ellow) gives a slang term for brains or head.

After yesterday’s comments I was rather looking forward to some off-the-wall and/or laddie photos but the opportunities are sadly lacking!

As usual the clues I like best are in blue but favourites are 27a and 16d.

The Quick crossword pun: {forty} + {chewed} = {fortitude}

90 comments on “DT 26699

  1. Hola pommers, I found todays crosswrd to be a puzzle of four seperate corners with 7d being the last answer to go in and also my favourite clue, I did enjoy this but give it a 3* personally as I still had to look some things up, one query in 9d, there is nothing to indicate it is an inclusive clue or am I missing something? realised it was a pangram when doing the bottome L/H corner, which helped in finishing off the top R/H corner, thanks for the hints pommers just off to read them now, lucky you getting Springtime again, it is very mild here but definitely Autumn

    1. in 27a isn’t ‘ground’ doing ‘double duty’ as the anagram indicator and the definition, I get mixed up with these and thought it wasn’t allowed?

      1. You can probably tell from my comment in the blog that I’m not sure what to make of this one! You’re right that words doing double duty are frowned upon but I think that here Jay gets away with it because of the question mark and Yes! at the end. I actually liked the clue a lot and saw the answer almost immediately, but then realized I was going to have a lot of trouble writing a hint for it!

        Maybe someone more experienced can shed some more light on this one?

    2. Morning Mary
      I think the containment indicator in 9d is simply ‘OF’.
      Think of ‘Catherine of Aragon’ meaning that Catherine comes from Aragon (nice part of the world). In this case it’s saying that the answer comes from ‘waste material’.
      It’s a bit chilly here this morning but beginning to warm up, but I don’t think I’ll wearing the shorts today!

  2. 1/2 star, you must be joking. It’s at a 3 if not a 4, it’s really really difficult! Little fun if you are unable to solve many clues.

    1. Brian, I still have to look up lots of words and have help in solving anagrams etc most days, I am just pleased with a puzzle if I can work out what the setter is looking for, I don’t always have the necessary vocabularic (new word) knowledge to know the answer, so I use my electronic friends to help, I don’t consider this cheating, because if you know the word you are looking for but don’t know it, if you know what I mean! then you can be at it all day and never get it, hope this makes some sense to you and just because someone comes online and has finished it early it doesn’t mean anything, they can have been up for hours!

      1. Mary, I don’t consider using my electronic friends cheating either as arthritis in my hands makes it difficult plowing through dictionaries and thesauri. Although my anagram solver must be American so I have problems if the US and UK spellings of a word are different. Do you have an English anagram solver? Also, I am still having problems accessing the puzzle is anyone else?

        1. I couldn’t get in at midnight GMT but it worked OK this morning for both this one and the Toughie!

          1. The same here. I can’t get in from 12 midnight to 6 am GMT. I can get in most of the time when I get up in Chicago from 1 pm onwards GMT but I don’t always have time to do it then. I prefer to do at least start it the night before. I hope this is not the new normal.

            1. Same here. Living in New York, I like to print out the cryptic in the evening ready for my subway ride to work in the morning. Most nights I get no co-operation from the DT Puzzle site. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Morning, all, from sunny Edinburgh.

    Making cards and doing the crossword, getting on well, and enjoying it which is what it’s all about!

    Thanks to setter & to Pommers.

  4. I thought this was easier than recent Jay crosswords but with all the entertainment factor. I tend to agree with a * for difficulty based on solving time but others may disagree.

    It was a delight to meet Jay at the “convention [aka booze-up]” last Saturday.

    For those who like a gentle Toughie, have a go at Micawber today. He is not at his most fiendish but like the back page, the crossword is a delight to solve.

  5. Just not on the wavelength today, I’m finding this one really awful. What has pants to do with 16d?

  6. Morning all. Completed reasonably rapidly today though held up by getting the wrong sort of woodwork for 26a. The correct answer, thanks to her ladyship, made much better sense. Agree with Pommers that 27a is today’s
    prize clue. I suspect that 17a is an old friend to some, but I still like it. Thanks to Pommers and setter.

  7. Thanks to Jay for a gentle, entertaining pangram, and to pommers for the notes.

    As Prolixic says, the Toughie is not so hard today and well worth a bash.

  8. Morning each. Bit late today as I had to go and pick up a parcel from yesterday that had arrived while I was at work, only to be told that it was ‘Not On The Shelf’, thankfully it only took another 10 minutes to find! Had a real D’Oh moment on 26A after putting the wrong type of woodwork in and not realising that it didn’t fit the clue, as it dawned on me, I realised that I was sat next to a cabinet my father made many years ago where he had a go at 26A !!!!

    Very enjoyable again today and while not too difficult (IMHO) had some nice clues that needed thinking about. Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  9. With my electronic friends, I found this 2/3 *’s for difficulty today, but like Pommers, I was disappointed when there were no clues left! I wasn’t quite sure how some of the clues were constructed (21a was a good example), but since I’m having a bad week and couldn’t finish yesterday’s puzzle, perhaps it’s just me needing to join Pommers ‘on the Dunce’s step’. Thanks to Jay for the puzzle and Pommers for the clarifications.

  10. Loved this one, easy peasy as is the toughie. Today is the day to get rid of all your crossword demons. Enjoy.
    Thanks Pommers and Jay

  11. I agree that this one is not too difficult but I managed to make a complete “pig’s ear” of it! Really don’t know why, having finally finished!! :sad:
    Started off very badly by getting three wrong – don’t very often do that – usually either can or can’t get the answer. Even though the clue was very clear I had “miser” for 13a. The other two were the anagrams 27a and 18d. I just looked very quickly and put “Aintree” and “igniting”. How did I do that – not even the right letters! 0/10 for brains today! :oops: Those three “fatal errors” completely screwed up three of the four corners. Eventually sorted it all out and finished apart from being unable to understand why 18d was what it was. I’ve never heard of this meaning of 19a. Not my finest day!! I liked 8 and 17a and 6, 15 and, my favourite, 25d. With thanks to Jay and Pommers.

    1. Hi Kath, I’ll move over a bit so you can join me on the stupid step if you like! I think njm may be joining us too!
      As you can see from my comment in the blog, I made a right pig’s ear of 16d to begin with!

      Have a go at the Toughie, it really is very good!

        1. That’s very mean Mary, surely the people on the step deserve nourishment as well as encouragement.

          1. There have to be limits Sue, purely selfish I must admit, seeing as there is now a ‘stupid step’ as well as a ‘naughty corner/step’ if cake was available in both, then I would just put on too much weight, because lets face it, I’m likely to end up in/on both :-)

        2. Allow cake???? I think that a real incentive’s needed – how about a big stick ?? Never did me any harm, kids today, don’t know how well off they are, etc, etc.

      1. Thanks for moving over! Unfortunately no time to even look at toughie today – umpteen people coming for supper this evening so must cook – that’s my excuse and I really am going to stick to it!! See you all tomorrow. :smile:

          1. OK thanks – have the paper so don’t even need to print it off. Will keep it and have a go tomorrow. Have done lots of cooking, now need to do quick dog walk and then more cooking.

    2. …. and it would appear that I can’t even type any more – it wasn’t 18d I didn’t understand (just got that one wrong to start off with) it was 16d I didn’t understand.

  12. Prolixic and I had a conversation with Jay on Saturday about why it was best to start his puzzles with the down clues. The three of us concluded that we had no idea, it just was. However, today’s puzzle was the exception that proved the rule as the bottom half of the acrosses went in very quickly.

    This was the first crossword of six splendid cryptics. Very enjoyable, thank you to Jay and to Pommers too. If you have done this and the lovely Toughie I can recommend the equally good Paul in the Guardian and Monk in the FT. The Times is good too but sadly not available free – I popped along to the ‘corridor of power’ and ‘borrowed’ the paper so I could make a photocopy. An excellent day for the cryptic fan, and the sun is still shining too. :)

      1. I still have lots of dense moments, Mary, even after all these years and all these crosswords. If we had the walk of cogitation to go with the stupid step and the naughty corner, we could work of all those calories :D

            1. Indeed! Typical Paul clue and very well constructed I thought, needed nearly all the checkers before the penny finally dropped! A great photo opportunity for Gazza too!

              Did you do the one last week with the chewing gum song? Another classic although already done by Enigmatist/Elgar a couple of years ago! How they got all that lot into a single grid beggars belief!

              1. Yes I did do the chewing gum one – another good puzzle. I tend to do all the cryptics most days – I really must seek counselling for my addiction. I did find on Saturday though that doing crosswords for hours got a bit much and my old brain said ‘stop, ehough’. Normally I do a puzzle, do some work, or domesticity if I am at home, then return to a crossword and so on. Saturday I did the DT before I left home, looked at 4 others on the train and then continued with them and some more in the pub, until eventually I had to say ‘yes I will look at your puzzle, but not today…’as the cryptic grey matter refused to cooperate any more. To think, before i ‘found’ BD I only did the DT and the Toughie. What a lot of fun I missed.

                1. I’m getting nearly as bad as you! I do the DT, Toughie and Grauniad most days and, if bored and the sites are working, sometimes dredge an old one from the archives as well! The Grauniad site’s best for that as you can search it by setter.
                  Sad I know but the joys of retirement!

            2. 5/21 – very amusing! My first to go in; as soon as I saw ‘stretcher’ the second word was obvious :)

              1. What are the odds against “tailless dog” appearing in two crosswords on the same day with the same result?

  13. An early input from me for a change!
    Solved this one quickly. Faves : 11a, 17a, 26a, 28a, 7d, 15d, 20d & 25d.
    I thought that the surface reading of 16d was weird.

    1. I thought it read ok Derek, it was just that there were three possible anagram indicators there, sabotage, ruined and pants, clever I thought :-)

  14. Enjoyable one today, but particularly tickled by the misdirection in 16d. Three viable anagram indicator/fodder combos in just four words – nifty.

  15. Definitely a 4* for Enjoyment, but found it more difficult than usual for a Wednesday – needed much assistance from electronic friends.

    Favourite has to be 16d – took a long, long time to pick the correct anagram indicator. 8a a close second for the surface reading!

    Thanks to Jay and pommers.

  16. I thought I’d invented a new word today ‘voabularic’ (see post 2 ) only to find that it is given in the ‘urban online’ dictionary Duh!

  17. Rarely for me, I thought this one was too easy; must have eaten something brainy this am. So I’m having a go at the toughie instead of mowing the lawn!

      1. Now i’ve finished the toughie; which was great with some help at the end; the sun is still shining….off to do my duty!!!!

  18. Afternoon, everyone. Like you, Pommers, I found this pretty straightforward, and I went through exactly the same process for 16d. However, I say we’re not stupid, it was just very good misdirection! :-D

    Thanks for the review – the only help I needed was where the other ‘t’ came from in 11a – right is ‘r’ so often that I forget it can also be ‘rt’! Thanks to Jay for the entertainment – favourites were 17a (may be an oldie, but I’ve not seen it before) and 25d.

    1. From other comments it appears we aren’t the only ones to have fallen into that trap. As you say, very good misdirection to get 2 sets of potential anagram fodder and 3 possible indicators into a 4 word clue!

      Perhaps it’s time to vacate the stupid step now!

    1. Hi Gnomethang, was Jay there when I was? If so, was he the chap with a black coat and gold glasses?

        1. Thanks Big Dave, I met quite a lot of people, and the blogging names doubled everything. So it would be nice to see some pictures with captions.

  19. Thanks for the hints Pommers which, fortunately, I did not need except to confirm a couple of things. Like you I found this very enjoyable and it, again, proves the point that a Xword does not have to be hard to enjoy it

    1. Can I just add that I could not believe that ‘mens pants’ was not an anagram. I looked everywhere to find it and then went through the same processes as everyone else.
      I thought that 27a was clever too

  20. I’ll add pants to my list of indicators – as I spent about an hour trying to get sabbotage out of men’s pants – didn’t help when I was trying to come up with something like squash_ for 19a. Enjoyed the rest though. Thanks to Pommers for putting me right

  21. Very nicely illustrated today, Pommers, especially the elephants!

    For a while I had igniting at 18d, which led to piranha at 28a – I did thing monster was a bit mean on piranhas, but anyway I sorted it out in the end.

    I wonder if you’re in shorts now. After a pleasant morning, we now have grey, dismal and cool in Valencia, but I’ve spent so long praying for rain that I can’t complain.

  22. Like most everyone else, 16d had me flummoxed – I even had the answer written down, too, and still couldn’t see it! So thank you Pommers for the hints, without which I wouldn’t have finished. But enjoyed to-day’s far more than yesterday.

  23. Had a terrible time with today’s crossword, don’t think I have ever managed to have so many sustainable wrong answers if you know what I mean. A lot of gardening duties though prevented full attention. Glad I resorted to the hints or I would have been wasting a lot of time due to my own misdirection. Thanks. Think I’ll divert myself with the toughie for the evening.

  24. Been a long day so off to bed soon. Glad I seem to have got the difficulty rating about right for once and that I’m not the only one who had about 3 runs at 16d! It’s not as though I’ve never seen ‘pants’ as an anagram indicator before!
    G’night all.

  25. Thanks to Jay and Pommers for the review and hints, which for once I didn’t need. A super puzzle from Jay, thought he was the setter when I saw 13a, a substitution clue. Lots of favourites 10,14, 28 across & 1,6, 7,15, 16 down. Last in was 16d, I also was looking for an anagram of men’s pants, but when that failed I then realised what to do.

  26. Heh, this turned out to be my Birthday cryptic! :)
    And much fun it was too, despite being unable to complete without checking a couple of answers (26a, 7d). I also put in ‘tollbridge’ for 3d, which held me up for a bit…7d was also a bit of a guess…
    Some nice clues – 17a I really liked, 19a too (now, I had heard of this word!) Had never heard of 28a, but some clear wordplay and checking letters saw me through – now *that’s* how it should be.
    Good stuff! 8)

  27. classic jay fare.16d also troubled me b4 i cottoned on.really liked 21a as it mentions my country.crypticsue,is that you in blue sweater in those photos?

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