DT 26696 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26696

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26696

A full review by crypticsue

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BD Rating –Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I commented on Saturday that this would have been the perfect puzzle for Goldilocks  as it was a ‘just right’ mixture of cryptic clues, anagrams, charades and ‘what??!!’ to suit every level of solver.   Thanks once again to the Saturday Mysteron.

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           Rough tune heard from this pirate (7)
CORSAIR –  A nice old chestnut to start with – a pirate, especially one from the Barbary Coast, sounds like homophones of  COARSE (rough) and AIR ( tune or song).

5a           Entertaining a thought (7)
AMUSING –  A from the clue plus MUSING (thought, silent reflection) makes an adjective meaning mildly funny or entertaining.

9a           Right one to scrutinise one joining (5)
RIVET – A bolt with a head at one end used to join two or more pieces of metal is a charade of R (right) I (one) and VET (to scrutinise thoroughly and critically).

10a         Many soldiers strike irregular force, one showing courage (9)
BATTALION – A body of soldiers consisting of several companies – another charade –  BAT (strike) TA (the Territorial Army is made up of part-time or irregular soldiers) and LION (a person of unusual courage).

11a         Batty admirer, would-be lover, non-U type is set up by him (10)
COMPOSITOR  –  A person who sets up type for printing – COMPO (Norah Batty’s  love struck admirer in Last of the Summer Wine followed by S(U)ITOR (a would-be lover  of which Compo is a fine example) from which the U is removed (non-U).

12a         Football team shortly to make a great strike (4)
WHAM – A resounding noise caused by a hard blow –  the abbreviation for a London football team  – W(est) HAM.   I wonder if our Mysteron is a fan?

14a         False account from distinguished politicians leaving south in a haze (12)
MISSTATEMENT – A false account or statement –   MIST (haze) into which is inserted STATE(S)MEN (distinguished politicians with the S removed [leaving South]).

18a         Reorganising cannot impose to make amends (12)
COMPENSATION – An anagram (reorganising) of CANNOT IMPOSE makes a noun meaning a way of making amends for loss or injury sustained.

21a         Some land endlessly set aside for religious use (4)
ACRE –  Remove the first and last letters (endlessly ) from SACRED (set apart or dedicated to religious used) to get a measure of land.

22a         Intended to return to prison, apparently (10)
DELIBERATE –  DELIBERATE (meant or done on purpose) if split 2, 8 would produce an expression meaning take the freedom away from someone, ie return them  to prison.  Interesting on Saturday afternoon to see those for whom the penny had dropped on this one and those for whom it hadn’t.  I was one of the former who had to explain it to a couple of the latter! 

25a         Poet made clear in heartless academy (9)
COLERIDGE –To get the name of the poet of the Ancient Mariner and other works, take COL(L)EGE (an academy or educational establishment), remove the second L (it’s in the middle or heart of the word, hence the instruction ’heartless’) and insert RID (clear, free or remove).  Hands up who else studied this poem at school.   “It is an ancient mariner and he stoppeth  one of three..”  and I am not going to admit how many years ago I learned that! 

26a         Snake, I reckon (5)
ADDER-  A double definition –  a type of snake or someone who reckons in the sense of doing calculations).

27a         Had strong urge to repair deanery (7)
YEARNED – An anagram (repair) of DEANERY produces the past participle of a verb meaning desired strongly or longed for).

28a         Tumbler has some of its contents replaced by rum tot (7)
TODDLER –  Remove the second, third and fourth letters (some of its contents)  from T(UMB) LER and replace with ODD (rum in the sense of strange) –  Tot here means a young child, in this case one learning to walk.


1d           Copper provoking excitement in church office (6)
CURACY –  The employment of a curate –  CU (the chemical symbol for copper) and RACY (exciting the mind with risqué thought.    This word has been in crosswords quite a lot lately and for some reason always conjures up a vision of naughty clergy!!

2d           Note sexy woman’s makeover (6)
REVAMP –   Our Mysteron was obviously having a naughty moment or two when he started the clues for the Downs!     RE (the second note of the scale, between Do and Me) and VAMP (a woman who attracts men sexually then uses and exploits them) –  REVAMP means to make over or give a new appearance to.

3d           Officially approved writer is top man on paper (10)
AUTHORISED –  to sanction or officially approve –  AUTHOR (writer) IS (from the clue) and ED (top man on paper).

4d           Preacher to prattle endlessly (5)
RABBI –  Remove the last letter (endlessly) from RABBIT or talk at length in a rambling fashion, and you are left with the leader of a Jewish synagogue.

5d           Ace off to Saturn? (9)
ASTRONAUT  –  Someone who will might embark on a journey to Saturn is obtained by following A (ace) with an anagram (off) of TO SATURN.

6d           State when taking dust-bath regularly (4)
UTAH –  One of the States in America is hidden in dUsT-bAtH.

7d           Hear Isis is choppy body of water (5,3)
IRISH SEA –  An anagram (choppy) of HEAR ISIS – the body of water between Britain and Ireland.

8d           Worker with small arms finds Cambridge college hard after comfortable upbringing (8)
GUNSMITH –  A GUNSMITH works with or repairs small firearms –   a reversal (upbringing) of SNUG (comfortable) followed by the abbreviated name by which the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is known and H for hard).   Nicely misleading as most people would initially think of Cambridge in England rather than Cambridge, Massachusetts.

13d         Starts to bash excellent tennis stroke in anticipation (10)
BEFOREHAND  –  Done in anticipation or by way of preparation –    The first letters (starts to) of Bash and Excellent followed by FOREHAND (tennis stroke).

15d         Sentence for minor offence may be this — hanging (9)
SUSPENDED –   A nice double definition – a deferred punishment or, as the clue says, hanging.

16d         In poor condition for record, withdraw from race? Yes (8)
SCRATCHY –  Those of us who grew up before the days of CDs, downloads etc, can all remember the awful sound caused by a record covered in scratches.   SCRATCH (to withdraw from a competition) and Y (yes).

17d         Shelter mare with bull? — that’s irregular (8)
UMBRELLA – A shelter from the rain is an anagram (irregular) of MARE and BULL.

19d         Museum finally foil one causing damage (6)
VANDAL –  A person who wantonly damages property –  V AND A (how most of us refer to the Victoria and Albert Museum) and L (the last letter of foiL).

20d         A drop of rum in ale or porter perhaps (6)
BEARER –  Ale and porter are both types of BEER.   Insert into BEER, A from the clue and R (a drop, or part of the letters,  of rum)

23d         Clumsy writer got up in it (5)
INEPT –  An adjective meaning awkward or clumsy – reverse (got up) PEN (when a setter refers to a ‘writer’ he more often than not means a pen, ie something you write with) inside IT (from the clue).

24d         This dish will make you flourish (4)
BRAN –  Put BRAN with dish and get  a verb meaning to flourish in the sense of waving a weapon.    Put BRAN in a dish and you get something often  eaten as part of a healthy diet to enable you to flourish in the sense of thriving or being in full vigour.

I do like starting Saturday with a nice cryptic puzzle.   Gnomey takes over that duty next while I am off to see what the next two Sundays have to offer.

4 comments on “DT 26696

  1. Good puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. Many thanks for the hints CS. Why don’t we know who does the Saturday crossword because they are usually the best of the week

    1. We do know that every other Saturday it is usually Cephas and the second Saturday is a Mysteron, but usually the same Mysteron, if you see what I mean.

  2. I read online a past interview with BD recently. He mentioned he didn’t like the grids the DT uses but I’m not sure what would be better in my naivety.

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