DT 26706 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26706

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26706

Hints and tips by Libellule

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment **

I quite enjoyed doing the crossword, but became more and more cranky about it when I was putting the blog together. In fact so much so that it was a struggle to finish it. It wasn’t that the various constructs used in the clues are particularly difficult to extract, but more because the wordplay used seems so repetitive and “bitty”. At one point I did start looking for a pangram, but it’s not.

If you highlight the space between the curly brackets it will reveal the answer.


1. Rural company with new driver in US car mostly (7)
{BUCOLIC} – A word that means of the countryside is made by putting CO (company) and L (new driver) inside a brand of car sold in the USA by General Motors which has the last letter removed (mostly).

5. A Northern party a bishop backed in principality (7)
{ANDORRA} – A N (Northern) DO (party) followed by the abbreviation for Right Reverend and A reversed is a small independent republic located in the eastern Pyrenees.

9. Greek behind corruption (5)
{GRAFT} – GR (Greek) plus a nautical term for the rear of a vessel.

10. Mastery gained in code man cracked (9)
{DOMINANCE} – An anagram (cracked) of IN CODE MAN.

11. A point, right, admitted by friend gets legal authority (10)
{MAGISTRATE} – Take A and then a word for the point or substance of an argument or speech for example, add R (right) and then place them all inside (admitted) MATE (friend) to get a civil authority who administers the law.

12. Pieces for all to see in list (4)
{MENU} – This list is a list of dishes that are available. Another word for chess pieces for example, is then followed by U (a film that all can see i.e. unclassified).

14. Chap on tour excitedly grabbing minute close to great historic building (7,5)
{HAMPTON COURT} – An anagram (excitedly) of CHAP ON TOUR with M (minute) and the last letter (close to) of great is a royal place located in East Molesey, Surrey.

18. Finally how marathon competitor is judged? (2,3,4,3)
{IN THE LONG RUN} – A gentle cryptic definition of an idiom that describes something that might occur after a lengthy period of time.

21. Large-scale part in adventure picture (4)
{EPIC} – A work of literature, film that describes heroic deeds is hidden between the words adventure and picture.

22. Toughness shown by engineers, source of industry amid quiet (10)
{RESILIENCE} – The ability to recover quickly from illness or misfortune for example is the usual abbreviation for Royal Engineer followed by a word that describes the absence of noise with an I (source of industry) inserted.

25. Booze principally drunk here by river — drinkers’ domain? (4,5)
{BEER HOUSE} – A place where ale is sold. Take the first letter (principally) of Booze, add an anagram (drunk) of HERE and then a river found in Eastern England that rises in Northamptonshire and flows Northeast to the Wash.

26. Foreign language in clubs, say, son ignored (5)
{INUIT} – IN, clubs in cards are an example, then remove S (son) for an Eskimo language.

27. Limit miles covered by old plane perhaps (7)
{EXTREME} – The definition is limit, as in the outermost or farthest. Put M (miles) inside EX (old) and what plane is a growing example of.

28. Support given in struggle after switch in leader (7)
{TRESTLE} – Change the first letter (switch in leader) of a word that means to contend or struggle (its also a sport) to get a horizontal beam held up by two pairs of legs that is used as a support.


1. A condition of two unions? (6)
{BIGAMY} – The criminal offence of being married more than once.

2. Accusation that could be loaded? (6)
{CHARGE} – Double definition. A claim of wrongdoing or a quantity of explosive.

3. Group employ a name endlessly for hedonist (5-5)
{LOTUS-EATER} – LOT (group) USE (employ) A TERM (name) with the last letter removed (endlessly) is a term that describes a lazy person devoted to pleasure and luxury that comes originally from Homer’s Odyssey.

4. Drink I’d found in park heading north (5)
{CIDER} – A drink made from apples is ID placed inside an informal three letter word for a public open space reversed (heading north).

5. A jolly powerful cyclist? (9)
{ARMSTRONG} – A, then the abbreviation for a Royal Marine (jolly) and a word that can mean being capable of exerting great physical force is a professional cyclist who won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times.

6. Fool caught out in mass of sand (4)
{DUNE} – Remove C (caught out) from a word that describes a person who is stupid or slow to learn to get a hill or ridge of wind blown sand.

7. Second gofer’s out of bed (6-2)
{RUNNER-UP} – A person who comes second in a race for example, is a synonym of gofer and a word that describes your state when you have risen from your bed.

8. A duke and English queen getting brew of tea that’s passable (8)
{ADEQUATE} – A D (duke), E (English), QU (queen) and then an anagram (brew) of TEA.

13. Study sun’s element in pleasure trip (10)
{SCRUTINISE} – A word that means to examine carefully is S (sun), with atomic element number 50 placed inside a word that describes a sea voyage taken for pleasure.

15. Method for journalist to probe aim of medicine? (9)
{PROCEDURE} – PRO (for) with ED (journalist) placed inside another word for a remedy.

16. Significant blaze is raging close to copse (8)
{SIZEABLE} – An anagram (raging) of BLAZE IS and then add the last letter (close to) of copse.

17. Loud style of piano-playing not without heart (8)
{STRIDENT} – Take a jazz piano style characterised by single bass notes on the first and third beats and chords on the second and fourth and then add NT (not without its middle letter) to get a word that describes having or making a loud or harsh sound.

19. Slight strain’s ultimately concealed (6)
{INSULT} – A word that describes a deliberate discourtesy or snub is hidden between the two words of strain’s and ultimately.

20. Organised drink, we hear, in Chesterfield, maybe (6)
{SETTEE} – A chesterfield is a large sofa, and another word for sofa sounds like (we hear) SET TEA.

23. Disinclined to move, artist abandoned unstable terrain (5)
{INERT} – Remove (abandoned) RA (Royal Academician
) from terrain, then make an anagram (unstable) of the remainder to produce a word that means unable to move or act.

24. Perhaps Oxford society has bowling venue at back (4)
{ SHOE} – A type of footwear (Oxford) is S (society) with Francis Drakes bowling venue added.

The Quick crossword pun: {queue} + {tickle} = {cuticle}

62 comments on “DT 26706

  1. I found parts of this hard going, and the last half a dozen took me longer to complete than the time spent on today’s Toughie.
    Thanks to setter, and to Libellule for the review.

  2. As said, most of this fell into place with no problems. I became a bit stumped towards the end though when the wordplay seemed to get very over-complicated (15D in particular). Thought 1A was very good though.

    And I think someone’s slipping – no EATS or SMUGGLE in the answers today – must try harder.

  3. Very hard for me and needed Libellule to finish.
    My answer to 1d was “prenup”; brilliant but wrong!

    1. I too had ‘prenup’ at first but thankfully didn’t write it in so will share in your brilliance!

  4. Not very enjoyable for me. I found some of the answers difficult to justify. Cross letters gave Armstrong for 5D but why is RM jolly?
    Thanks to setter and Libellule for the hints.

    1. This is probably a more interesting question than you realised. A jolly is a nickname for a Royal Marine and RM is the abbreviation for the Royal Marines. There has been extensive debate recently as to whether the singular “jolly” can lead to the plural “Royal Marines”. Apparently some crossword editors are not allowing it!

  5. Not much fun; agree entirely with Libellule about bitty clues e.g. 5a and 8d, both of which have 5 bits to them to describe the answer. That seems rather excessive for a mere 7 letters in the case of 5a. Thanks for explaining 17d – we had never heard of that type of music. A check of the Chambers app dictionary did not show it, (though it is in the paper version) and so we just assumed we had the right answer. Assuming the wrong river, one found in North Yorkshire, in 25a led to a certain amount of head banging. 27a gets my vote for the best clue today.

  6. I enjoyed doing this although to begin with I didn’t think that I was going to be able to do it at all. I’m not quite sure why but the style seemed very unfamiliar. Having now finished it and looked again I think there are quite a few clever and sneaky clues – certainly clever and sneaky enough to fool me anyway! The ones that took me a long time were 25 and 27a and 13 and 15d. I liked 1, 12, 25, 27 and …… lots of others – too many to write them all down! With thanks to the setter and to Libellule.

  7. 2* for difficulty and time for me today. The whole thing obviously didn’t make much impression as I just had to look at it again to try and remember what I thought. Thanks to the Mysteron and Libellule.

    The Toughie doesn’t take long and is worth a go.

  8. THis took slightly longer than the Toughie but was not quite as much fuin. I was held up fornearly half my solving time in the NW corner so I finished the Toughie then went back and all was clear after crunching the wordplay. Thanks to Libellule and the setter.

  9. Having done only 3 clues at the first pass, I didn’t expect to finish, but a few jogs from Libellule got me to the finish! 3* for difficulty, 1* for enjoyment.

  10. Solved this one pretty smartly on another sunny day over here in NL.
    Faves : 1a, 11a, 26a, 3d, 5d, 7d, 13d, 20d & 24d.

    Have now to go shopping as the family are coming along to dine chez moi at the weekend and my daughter has requested that I do a fondue bourgignonne!
    The feeling of the fall or back end of the year has definitely arrived!

    I always use beef fillet or undercut as we say in Yorkshire. Filet de boeuf / ossehaas.

  11. Rather a struggle, but I did it, though with quite a lot of help. For a long time I thought I wouldn’t get past 10a and only had three words after the first look through. Some of the clues did indeed seem over-complicated and I was glad to have the explanations, especially for 11a and 13d. My favourite today was 1d, but I’ve a simple sense of humour. Many thanks to Libellule and (was it?) Ray T.

    1. I think almost certainly not Ray T, Franny – it didn’t feel like one of his, the quickie does not have his trademark one word clues and we have been lucky enough to have had him for the last two weeks. :smile:

  12. Can someone please help me with the Quickie – I assume it’s meant to be a pangram, but I can’t work an “x” into it.

      1. Fair point, well made! The first half dozen clues that I inserted contained Q, K, V, J and Z, so I made a rash assumption !!

  13. Found this a hard one today. Completed all but half a dozen quickly then really had to work at the rest. Seems from the comments I wasn’t the only one. 5d was the last as I am not good at the tour de france! Thanks to Libellule.

  14. Struggled to get started with this – only 2 answers from the across clues at first pass, but the down clues then came to my rescue. I was stuck with 13d though despite having all the crossing letters, and had to resort to looking at the hints for the answer. I agree it was rather bitty, and not as much fun as many recently. Thanks to setter and to Libellule. Digby – like you, I thought the quickie would be a pangram, and was left trying to fit an X and an M in to a word meaning “excessive adoration”. Couldn’t find IMOXATRY anywhere in Chambers!

  15. Pommette and I found this a bit of a strange crossword! Not difficult to complete but with more complicated wordplay than usual. I don’t think it’s one of our regular mysterons, have we a new setter?.
    Why I had to wait for the first letter before twigging 1d I don’t know as I’m sure I’ve seen the clue before.

    Thanks to the mysteron and Libellule.

    1. 1d was one of my last ones too and, like you, I’m sure I’ve seen something similar, although not recently.

      1. Hi Andy
        A more amusing clue for the same answer! But I’m sure I’ve seen the use of ‘two unions’ somewhere to indicate the crime. Maybe it was a Grauniad rather than a DT

          1. Thanks Gnomey – that’s right up there with Keneth Williams’ “infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy” speech!

            1. I do feel as if I need to defend mothers-in-law. I may be either unusual, or just plain lucky, but I just adored mine. She was absolutely wonderful, never anything but welcoming, loving and supportive and a great Granny. The only thing she ever did wrong was die when she was 64.

  16. Probably so Pommers, on 225 if you “search” the word it has been clued by most setters. I see from last nights postings you’re still up for Derby, so see you there!

    1. You sure will!
      I’m looking forward to it as I’ve never been to one of the S&Bs before, never met anyone from this site and never met a setter!

  17. Did 3/4 of this this morning before I had to go out and struggled to do the rest when I came back, would not have completed without Libelulle if I’d tried all afternoon! enough said! Merci Libeluule :-)

  18. Thanks to Mysteron and Libellule, I couldn’t get into this and needed 5 hints, one of which I had to look up. Favourites were 1d & 5d.

  19. Really had to work hard at this but did finish eventually with electronic help and one hint. Actually, I rather enjoyed it, but perhaps that was because I did have a bit of time to concentrate for once. Didn’t much like 8d, liked 22a – and did anyone else want to put “firewood” in 16d?? Thank heaven I didn’t actually write it in! – it would only have made sense without “significant”. Thanks to Setter and Libellule.

    1. Thought about “fire” as first bit of 16d but had already decided that it was an anagram – it just took me FOR EVER to get it – how stupid.

  20. Very hard today but I quite liked it. Not sure I understand 25a, whats a beer house? Not a phrase I have ever come across before. Thx to Libellule for explaining some of the more intricate answers such as 11a and 23a. Last one in was 26a, could the setter have come up with a more obscure language!

    1. Hi Brian
      I’ve never heard the phrase ‘beer-house’ either but I guess it’s the same as ALEHOUSE, which I am very familiar with!

      1. Have to say that I’ve never come across the expression “beer house” before either, and it did take me a while to work out. I thought that it was one of the best, if a bit convoluted, clues.

  21. Struggled today – but finally solved it. Favourite clue – 19d – a hidden clue (almost up there with the best of those from Virgilius – the Sunday Setter). Missed “concealed”.

    Didn’t Virgilius recently have a hidden clue, when the solution was “hidden”?

    I keep missing the obvious – e.g. every time you see Oxford – think “shoe”!

    Oh! Well! Onwards and upwards! Or maybe not! Thanks to all involved!!

  22. Couldn’t finish this one – too hard for me and I needed Libellule’s help for several answers. I’ve not come across “Graft” meaning “Corruption” before and “Jolly” for RM is new to me also. I have heard of Lance Armstrong so I got that one without knowing why! It didn’t help when I put in “Andover” for 5a though getting 7d put me right.

  23. It was 17d that caused a hiccup for us. We got STRIDENT, but never having come across the term STRIDE in connection with jazz, we didn’t know why!

  24. I walked into this one expecting it to be quite tricky, but it wasn’t too bad…
    5a was my first in; 1a the last in (never heard of that word). The eskimo language one was also a guess, and I’d not heard of the jazz piano term either – gofer/runner was lost on me too.
    I agree that the wordplay was probably a little ‘over-engineered’ in places (there is a regular Mysteron setter who does that, isn’t there?), but it wasn’t too obscure, which I appreciated.
    Thanks to Libellule for providing the answer to 1a! :)

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