DT 26703 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26703

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26703

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Libellule is unavailable today, giving me my first opportunity to review a Rufus puzzle for some time. This wasn’t the simplest of puzzles, probably because of the double-unches and the cryptic definitions, but that didn’t stop it from being very enjoyable. My favourite clue was 1 across – let us know yours.

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    Proverbially it implies madness (3,2,5)
{OUT OF SIGHT} – the second part of this proverb is a phrase that could mean madness – what is needed is the first part!

9a    Sweet kid (4)
{FOOL} – a double definition – a sweet or dessert and a verb meaning to kid

10a    Hold up close to Cork (10)
{BOTTLENECK} – this hold up in traffic is where the cork goes

11a    Arch no different from the others (6)
{INSTEP} – split this arch in the foot as (2,4) and it means no different from the others

12a    Some rash German, perhaps (7)
{MEASLES} – German is one variety of this skin rash

15a    Opposed to profits at outset (7)
{AGAINST} – a word meaning opposed to is created by putting profits inside (outset) AT

16a    Loveless sailor staggers round bars (5)
{RAILS} – an anagram (staggers round) of SAIL(O)R without the O (loveless) gives these bars

17a    This way for a place as a head (4)
{EACH} – follow this word with “way” to get a bet which pays out for a win or place – on its own it means “a head” or “per head”

18a    Female carries oxygen pump, perhaps (4)
{SHOE} – put the female pronoun around O(xygen) to get the type of footwear of which a pump is an example (perhaps)

19a    Miss part of declaration (5)
{CLARA} – this young lady is hidden inside the last word of the clue

21a    Avoid established customs? (7)
{SMUGGLE} – a cryptic definition of avoiding HM Customs in order not to pay duty

22a    A short dress, mother, to say the least (7)
{MINIMUM} – a charade of a short dress and a mother gives a word meaning the least – even Rufus is allowed the occasional old chestnut, especially as Christmas is fast approaching!

24a    New hostel providing accommodation for lodgers (6)
{HOTELS} – an anagram (new) of HOSTEL gives establishments that provide accommodation

27a    Turnover from two seasons, say (10)
{SOMERSAULT} – this acrobatic movement in which a person turns head over heels sounds like a charade of one of the four seasons and a seasoning added to food

28a    Build-up of runs — to retain the ashes? (4)
{URNS} – an anagram (build-up) of RUNS gives these containers that could be used to retain the ashes after cremations

29a    China’s sovereign race (5,5)
{CROWN DERBY} – this type of china, well-known to followers of Bargain Hunt, is a charade of a sovereign or monarch and a horse race


2d    Superior to a bad pun about love (4)
{UPON} – this word meaning superior to is derived by putting an anagram (bad) of PUN around (about) O (love / a score of zero in tennis)

3d    Pieces of eight (6)
{OCTETS} – a cryptic definition of compositions for eight musicians

4d    Earring found on the railway (7)
{SLEEPER} – a double definition – a small gold hoop worn in a pierced ear to prevent the hole from closing up and a support for railway lines

5d    A horse for Lady Jane (4)
{GREY} – another double definition – a type of horse and the Lady Jane who was Queen for just ten days

6d    Proceeds to give thanks to college (7)
{TAKINGS} – these proceeds from a business are a charade of a short word of thanks and a college at Cambridge University or a similar college at many other universities

7d    Gent’s upset about tonight’s riot in the city (10)
{NOTTINGHAM} – reverse (upset in a down clue) a gent around (about) an anagram (riot) of TONIGHT to get Bufo’s home city

8d    Wake up at the back? (10)
{SLIPSTREAM} – a cryptic definition of the current of air driven back by an aircraft propeller

12d    Pipe bursts each summer (10)
{MEERSCHAUM} – this tobacco pipe made from a soft white clay-like material is an anagram (bursts) of EACH SUMMER

13d    Relation without tan in summer (10)
{ACCOUNTANT} – put a relation or narrative around (without) TAN to get someone who adds up figures

14d    Brush a fur coat (5)
{SABLE} – a double definition – a paintbrush made from the hair of the arctic marten or a coat made from its fur

15d    This may cause a number to take up weapons (5)
{ALARM} – the whole of this all-in-one clue defines this state of fear – it’s a charade of A from the clue, a Roman numeral and a word meaning to take up weapons

19d    Top-quality work produced by Form 1C (7)
{CLASSIC} – this top-quality work of art is a charade of a form or stream in a school, the Roman numeral for 1 and C from the clue

20d    A new role in flight control (7)
{AILERON} – combine A from the clue with an anagram (new) of ROLE IN to get this flap on an aeroplane wing tip for lateral balancing (flight control)

23d    Resident at home with wife (6)
{INMATE} – this resident, in a prison perhaps, is a charade of a word meaning at home and a wife or partner

25d    Large number seen in a doctor’s rounds (4)
{AMMO} – put the Roman numeral for a large number between A from the clue and a doctor to get these rounds of bullets

26d    Show emotion, seeing spring flower coming up (4)
{BLUB} – this word meaning to show a particular kind of emotion is derived by reversing (coming up in a down clue) something planted in Spring to produce a flower

Libellule will be back with Thursday’s review.

The Quick crossword pun: {piece} + {super} = {pea-souper}

71 comments on “DT 26703

  1. I found this much more difficult than usual for a Monday, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Last in for me were 13d, 17a (which I really couldn’t see for a long time, even when I knew it could only be one of two possible answers) and 21a. Thanks to Rufus and to Big Dave for the review.

  2. Found this quite straightforward except for 9A, kept thinking of child/baby animal!!! Loved 1A and 10A

  3. I also thought this more difficult than usual for a Monday, but liked it. Took a long time to ‘see’ a number of answers, and needed the computer for 12d. Thought the three different uses of ‘summer’ were quite clever.
    Thanks to all involved today.

  4. Good morning Dave, welcome to Monday :-) , I found this a tough one for Rufus, several I needed your help with, a couple of words I didn’t know eg 12d and 20d, favourite clue of all 27a, thanks for all your help Dave, couldn’t have done it without you today :-D

  5. I enjoyed this very much and thought that there were some brilliant clues. Probably a bit more difficult than most Monday puzzles so I was glad to see that it warranted 3*. I had to check the spelling of 27a – it’s one of those that I ALWAYS have to check! 17a was my last – just couldn’t get it. I loved 1, 18 and 27a and, best of all for me today, 8d. With thanks to Rufus and BD.

  6. Definitely a bit harder than usual for a Monday. Too many good clues to mention. My last ones in were also 13d, 17a and 21a. I wouldn’t have understood 17a without explanation and the only cryptic element of 21a that I can see is the superfluous word in the middle. Am I missing something?
    Thanks to Rufus (for this and the Grauniad, which was very enjoyable) and BD.

    1. I think the middle word causes you to think of customs in the way of usage, habit, routine etc, as opposed to excise, tariff etc. So, rather than being superfluous, it’s the middle word that causes the misdirection. Clever!

  7. I agree this was more difficult than the average Monday offering. Some really great clues – hard to choose but 27 and 29 were excellent and 21a for the d’oh moment. I must be very dense today, but though I got 1a, I don’t really understand it, even with the hint. What’s it got to do with madness? Please put me out of my misery :(

  8. Best monday puzzle for a while, lots of elegant clues. 17a very hard for me, race going spouse got it in no time. Tx Rufus & BD.

  9. Always such a relief to find out that I wasn’t the only one who took longer than usual for a Rufus. Very enjoyable and like BD 1a is favourite of the day. Thanks to Rufus and BD too.

    1. Enjoyable pleasant start to the week. One or two clever traps.

      Incidentally The Listeners are back on Only Connect tonight, a bit of schedule rejigging has brought this forward. BBC4 at 8:30pm.

        1. I was going to make a comment on the programme but don’t want to spoil it for you. I will resort to email instead.

  10. Struuggled (not smuggled!) with the last two clues, 17a and 21a. Should have got 21a but 17 is a bit convoluted. Not often we have to wait for the hints, but we had to get up and have (a late) breakfast. Newspaper delivery a bit uncertain round here, it can be 8.30am before we can begin to tackle the crossword.

  11. Found this really tough and unenjoyable. There seems to a trend on the DT back page at the moment for much trickier puzzles. Too tough for me I’m afraid.

    1. I agree have been doing these for 50 years and they are more and more challenging. Don’t think its because I am losing any of my grey cells yet. I got stuck on 7d, 8d, 13d, 9a and 17a and BD came to the rescue. Even with BD’s explanation I still find some of the clues a stretch in “clueworthiness”.

      1. You should look on the web for some of the (much) older Telegraph crosswords (say 1940’s or 50’s). Like kids doing their A levels etc today, I’m sure you’d have difficulty even understanding the clues let alone solving them. (And no, I wasn’t doing the DT crossword then – only just learnt to walk around ’57).

        1. Believe it or not I found a stash of old DT crossword books from 40 years ago that I used to bring back to the States from England, before we had the Internet) and I find them easier. My 92 year young father, who is fully compos mentis, taught me to do these and he finds them harder than they used to be too. While you were learning to walk I was learning to use make-up:)

        2. I started doing them in the 60’s and found them a lot easier than now. Peak solving was in the 80’s when it used to take an average of 10- 15 minutes. These days it takes me hours – but I put that down to the compiler NOT my age!!

  12. There are many that I don’t fully understand in today’s effort but the one that is really puzzling me is what has 8d got to do with wake up? Thx to BD for the vital clues without which I would not have understand 50% of todays answers.

      1. Dave, I took the flying body to be an F1 car (but then I would!). Still don’t really see what the UP brings to the clue – am I back to the stupid step AGAIN?

    1. 8d – the definition is wake and the up refers to the fact that it comes from an aircraft UP in the air.

    2. Brian, “wake” refers to the disturbed air behind a moving body, in much the same way as a boat leaves a wake behind it when passing through water.

    1. Sometimes I find that trying harder makes things worse. When I find myself trying to over think things I get stuck. If I am more relaxed about it the answers seem to come easier. That’s my experience anyway.

        1. You don’t necessarily have to walk – that was just suggested as a way of offsetting the calories from the lemon drizzle cake in the naughty corner.

          My advice as ever to those who struggle with any cryptic crossword is simply to put the paper down, or walk away from the computer screen, for at least an hour and when you return you will be pleasantly surprised as to how much your subconscious has been working on the puzzle in your ‘absence’.

  13. Thanks to Rufus & Big Dave. Quite a tricky one, but very enjoyable. Managed without the hints but had “shuffle ” for 21a, didn’t think of HM for customs, well done to Rufus :-) Favourites were 1, 10,11, 27,28 across & 26,8down, which was last in. Very entertaining.

  14. If you tot up everyone’s favourte clues there aren’t many that don’t get a mention. That’s one of Rufus’s great talents, I feel – something for everyone. Well, except Brian I suppose! Thanks to R & BD for a great start to the week.

    1. Ditto Digby – I LOVE RUFUS! he got me out of the clueless club. But There again, I’m on his wavelength and sometimes pommers really struggles on a Rufus!

  15. Enjoyable one today – I didn’t find it too hard although 8A and 17A seemed a bit contrived. I loved the 27A clue. Thanks for the fun :)

  16. Am I alone in thinking there were 2 answers to 3d the one shown above and Octals which are units in an eight part system? Maybe it’s just an IT term! Otherwise very enjoyable, yes and harder than the average Monday.

  17. I solved this puzzle in two periods as the central heating system was giving trouble and I had to sort it out for more comfort – the temperature in NL is dropping so I suspect that the Indian summer weather of the last few weeks is over.

    Somewhat harder fare from Rufus today.

    Faves : 1a, 10a, 27a, 7d, 12d & 14d.

    Greetings to all.

  18. Found this one very difficult – had more luck with Sunday’s! Thanks BD, otherwise I would still be staring at a very empty grid!!

  19. I tossed up between the two possibilities for 3d too. All good clues – except perhaps 17a, which seems a bit…stretched. 10a and 27a especially we found very pleasing.

  20. I thought this was pretty good – harder than average for a Rufus and loved 1a!
    Thanks Rufus and BD.

  21. As most people know, I love Rufus, so didn’t find the cryptic definitions too difficult. Apart from 9a, and boy were we stuck. Could I think of the answer? No?
    And it took pommers 4 hours over our usual Monday bridge afternoon to persevate on the answer.
    Thanks to Rufus & BD for an enjoyable start to the week.

  22. Can someone please explain 1a. Just can’t see it – have the answer I think but can’t fit to the clue

      1. Must just be me, but I don’t have an illustration for 1a – jut a big blank space?! However, Ainsley (and I needed the hints) there’s a very old saying about “*** ** *****” being – what? -“forgotten”, will do! And the next 3 words of the saying – 3 – 2 – 4 can also mean you have gone mad. Does that help?

      2. I see – thanks for this. Actually don’t like this clue. It do not think it implies madness but I accept I am in a minority. I think it almost gets there with the second part being ‘out of sight’ but doesn’t quite work. Difficult one for me today and not that enjoyable perhaps that is why I am being grumpy.

        1. I thought 1a OK, a bit ‘off the wall’ for Rufus maybe but OK in my book. What I dislike about Rufus is the abundance of double definitions like 9a. 2 word clue so an obvious double definition but you either spot it or you don’t, the clue gives you nothing to work with! And the more obscure the references the harder the clue!
          However, pommette likes them so I must watch what I say!

    1. Hi Ainsley – long time no speak!
      Addicted has it about right! I was trying to think of a way to hint without giving the game away when his post came up!
      I also have a big white space but the other pictures are there – strange!

      1. I have a link to a musical clip, with a picture of a 45 record (remember them?!) with the answer to the clue followed by the words Out of Mind.

        With regard to missing pictures, I don’t have the one for 19a but I do feel sorry for the poor baby at 12a. Did his/her mum not have any calomine?

        1. Just re-accessed the blog via Firefox and the link is there! Must be IE8 playing silly buggers!
          Thought calomine was for chicken pox?

          1. Calomine soothes all sorts of things relating to rashes, not just chickenpox. Mind you, I expect there is something more moden that mums use now. I think we have an ancient bottle of the stuff lurking in a cupboard and it must be over 20 years since either of my ‘boys’ needed it!

            1. Don’t think it has a sell-by date. I seem to remember spending about a week bathed in the white stuff when I was about 6 years old but it still didn’t stop me getting shingles in later life – most unpleasant!

              1. We seem to be digressing so far off topic that I for one am going to call it a night. See you all tomorrow.

          1. Dave, I’ve had this happen before! The site is fine via Firefox but IE8 often doesn’t show video links. No idea why as the still photo links are always fine.
            I think there’s something wrong with my IE so I always use Firefox on Weds when I do the blog – safer I think.

            BTW, apart from the title being OK for the clue, why did you think I might want to listen to that? Wish I’d stayed on IE8!

            1. Pommers – Which version of Firefox are you using? I have 3.6.23 and am afraid to upgrade as the DT Crossword site does not work at all with IE9.

              1. It seems to be telling me I’m on 7.0.1 but I’m a techno-peasant so take that with a piece of salt! i just downloaded the latest update and that’s what it’s come up with.

                1. Thanks – perhaps I will get a later version when the DT site is back to normal which it isn’t at the moment for me anyway.

  23. Solved it eventually. Like several others I didn’t like 1a or 17a (“This way for a place” was ok but didn’t see the point of “as a head”. Favourite clue was 8d.

        1. Don’t be too hard on yourself Silveroak! I had to invent a ‘stupid step’ for myself last Wednesday and I seem to have been occupying in non-stop ever since!

  24. Rats, I just couldn’t get 9A.

    Which makes me a Sweet Kid (4).

    ATOM, anyway, even if I am a bit late.

  25. 1a reminded me of the old tale of the machine translator that returned the well-known proverb/aphorism as “Blind and mad”.

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