DT 26711 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26711

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26711

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja.  The usual excellent Wednesday fare, not too difficult but very enjoyable. I’ve given 2* for difficulty based on my solving time but it was very close to being 3*, so I guess some of you will disagree with me.

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.


1a    Mind game? (7)
{MARBLES} – This is a children’s game played with small glass balls. It’s also a slang term for the mind, as in ‘He’s lost his *******’.

9a    Advance making progress on the backs of others (8)
{LEAPFROG} – word meaning to advance from one place to another, without going through all the places in-between, is another children’s game where progress is made using the back of someone else.  I really like this clue!

10a   Sacrifice it after fresh offer (7)
{FORFEIT} – A word meaning sacrifice or give up is IT (from the clue) placed after an anagram (fresh) of OFFER.

11a    Spooner’s cheerful enthusiast? He’ll get you across (8)
{FERRYMAN} – Take a word meaning cheerful (5) followed by a word for an enthusiast or supporter (3) and swap the first letters to get someone who may take you across a river. I don’t usually like Spooner clues but this one raised a smile for some reason!

12a    Energy invested in nurse’s vocation (6)
{CAREER} – E(nergy) inserted (invested in) into another way of describing a nurse gives you vocation or profession.

13a    High flier’s jinks a bit coarse for broadcasting (10)
{AEROBATICS} – An anagram (for broadcasting) of A BIT COARSE gives some jinks or stunts performed by an aircraft in flight.

15a    Finish off quick and run (4)
{FLEE} – Remove the last letter (finish off) from a word meaning quick or swift to leave a word meaning to run away.  I didn’t help myself by putting BOLT in this one on first pass! Looked OK to me – bolt as in finish off your food quickly and bolt as in do a runner. Didn’t help a lot with 2 and 3 down, D’oh!

16a    Break romance within days, finding stuff washed up (9)
{DRIFTWOOD} – This is stuff you might find washed up on a beach. Take  a word for a break or split followed by a word meaning to romance or court someone and then place a D at each end (within D(ays)).

21a    Creature perhaps carried back by white youths (4)
{YETI} – Definition is ‘creature perhaps’, depending on whether you believe in its existence or not. It’s hidden reversed (carried back) in white youths.

22a    Person refusing help in organising ban on named cast (3-3,4)
{ONE MAN BAND} – This phrase describing a person who does everything himself is an anagram (cast) of BAN ON NAMED.

24a    See 27 Across

25a    Working around motorway surrounded by deer and game (8)
{DOMINOES} – Take the usual word for working (2) and place it around the motorway that goes from London to Leeds. Around this place some deer (female) and you get a pub game.   It’s also very popular in bars here in Spain but why do they have to slam the tiles down so hard?.

27a and 24a:    Professors’ positions on sort of ability required for party fun (7,6)
{MUSICAL CHAIRS} – The sort of ability you need to play the piano, or any other instrument, followed by the plural of the position a professor is said to occupy gives a party game.

28a    Game fish occasionally canned (8)
{SARDINES} – Another children’s game is also a small fish of the herring family commonly found in tins.  I love the fresh ones which are readily available and cheap here!

29a    One refuses to believe thought initially put into a robbery (7)
{ATHEIST} – Insert T (Thought initially) into A (from the clue) and a slightly American term (I think) for a robbery to get someone who does not believe in God.


2d    School board drowning in beer — delightful! (8)
{ADORABLE} – A word meaning delightful or lovable is an anagram (school) of BOARD placed inside (drowning in) the usual beer.

3d    Little Eddie, hiding under food counter, gets knocked about (8)
{BUFFETED} – A food counter where you serve yourself followed by the diminutive for Edward gives a word meaning knocked about or jostled.

4d    Moving abroad to Nigeria, worried about source of money (10)
{EMIGRATION} – An anagram (worried) of TO NIGERIA placed a round M (source of Money) givesa word meaning the act of moving abroad.

5d    Information on English characteristic thus passed on (4)
{GENE} –The thing that passes on characteristics from parent to child is the usual word for information and E(nglish).

6d    Part of Greece once storing pictures in resort (6)
{SPARTA} –A resort such as Bath or Harrogate, for example, placed around a generic term for pictures or paintings gives a part of Ancient Greece famous for its military prowess.

7d    Cause of trouble for girl messing around with men? (7)
{GREMLIN} – This is a mischievous invisible being, said by pilots in World War II to cause engine trouble, and it’s an anagram (messing around with) GIRL and MEN.  This chap turned up in one of my early blogs!

8d    Suffer a turn and raise wrong point (7)
{AGONISE} – The definition is suffer. Take A (from the clue), a word for turn as in ‘it’s your turn’ (2), a word for a wrong (3) reversed (raise in a down clue) and a point of the compass. This is one of those that’s more complicated to explain than it was to solve!

11d    Dismiss greyhound stalls as dangerous places in an emergency (9)
{FIRETRAPS} – A word meaning dismiss or sack followed by the correct term for where greyhounds start a race gives some buildings that are certainly dangerous places.

14d    Matter suppressed by family in health check (5,5)
{BLOOD COUNT} – A word meaning to matter or be of importance placed after (suppressed by in a down clue) a word which can mean family, or race perhaps, gives one of the tests used to check a person’s health.

17d    First of all, did you not ask me if the event is explosive? (8)
{DYNAMITE} – Definition is explosive. It’s made up of the first letters (first of all) the other words in the clue.

18d    Film pitch battle on board ship (4,4)
{STAR WARS} – Take a word for pitch or bitumen and a word for something that’s a bit more than one battle and place inside SS (on board ship). Split the result (4,4) and you get the famous sci-fi movie which introduced us to Yoda-speak!

19d    Plateful of sticky gunk? That’s sort of okay (7)
{GOODISH} – A word meaning ‘sort of OK’ or ‘not too bad’ is a charade of some sticky gunk (3) and another word for a plate or bowl.

20d    Poor men imprisoned by obscure country (7)
{DENMARK} – A European country is obtained by placing an anagram (poor) of MEN inside (imprisoned by) a word meaning obscure or dim.

23d    A release that’s relative (6)
{AUNTIE} – This female relative is A (from the clue) followed by a word meaning release, a knot in a rope perhaps.

26d    Few escape cuddling such animals (4)
{EWES} – These (female) animals are hidden in (cuddling) few escape.

There seems to be a bit of a game theme in the across clues but not in the downs!

I like all the ones in blue but my favourites are 9a, 4d and 17d.

The Quick crossword pun: {missed} + {defying} = {mystifying}

43 comments on “DT 26711

  1. I thought this was very enjoyable today. Nothing too tricky, although I did spend longer than necessary in the top left, as a result of misspelling 10a!
    Thanks to Jay, and to pommers for the notes.

        1. Didn’t join that club for once although it is one of those that contradicts the “I before E except after C” rules that were drummed into us at school – always seemed to me that there were far more exceptions than rules!!

  2. Hola pommers. a definite 3 star for me today, though after finishing it with a little help from yourself I wondered why I found it so difficult! like 11a but other than that no fav clue, thanks for hints pommers I dare say if I’d spent more time on it I would have finsihed it but I need to do other stuff today :-)

  3. Very enjoyable today. After first run-through of across clues, I had filled three in and started to panic, but then everything fell into place like 25A. Had a tricky moment with the NW corner, but once I had 2D, the rest followed.

    Rotten day here today, grey, damp, cold :-( and to think thta I actually got some gardening done yesterday. Hum Ho.

    1. Exactly the same re first run – 3 across clues solved and looking like a shocker but the downs proved much easier and gave traction for the remaining acrosses. 2* looks about right, maybe 2.5

  4. Anyone done the Grauniad puzzle today? Well, we have another one of those strange coincidences!
    In one of the answers the first 3 letters from 19d in this puzzle are used but clued as ‘something slimy’ instead of ‘sticky gunk’ – weird or what?

    1. Not weird at all – there is a conspiracy among Crossword setters (they all deny this but i KNOW it is true!) that there are certain words that must be placed in broadsheet crosswords every month.
      They keep score and take bets and everything ;-)

  5. After yet another fruitless visit to the “Residencia” office at 9am, my mood is not conducive to lateral thinking this morning. I used all the letter hints and still needed Pommers to give me 1a. On reflection a very good puzzle, but too much for this disgruntled solver. Thanks to all.

  6. Hola Pommers,

    I won’t disagree with you on the star rating if I can do it. I know that I can always finish a 2* and hardly ever finish a 3* at this point in my development

    1. It wouldn’t have had to have taken much longer for me to have given 3*, but I did waste a fair bit of time by having a wrong, but perfectly explainable, answer in 15a!
      It’s not as hard as it looks – honest!

      1. I agree with you on 15a ….I got the answer but couldn’t explain why without your help. many thanks for the 6d illustration and thanks to the setter for a lovely puzzle.

  7. This took me longer than usual for a Jay puzzle so I would say at least 2.5* difficulty but I did enjoy the experience. Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

    The Elgar Toughie is great fun too – not fluffy slippers but not full hob-nailed boots either. He’s in the FT as Io and I found that harder. Paul in the Guardian is worth a go too.

  8. 25A – had the answer straight away but really can’t work out why. The Motorway – no probs. Deer – well no problem either. So – where is the N from and what to do with work? Unless that is the first 2 letters and in which case …..

    Lawks – help please!!!

  9. I’d give it 3* for difficulty – found the SW corner very tricky and had to go to hints for 28a and was then able to finish. Don’t like 19d at all- what a horrid word and not one that’s used very often? But nonetheless very enjoyable – particuclarly liked 18d and 11a. Oh, also needed Pommers for 1a, was nowhere near solving that one! So thank you Pommers and Jay – always nice to have an intriguing puzzle on a grey November day.

  10. Very enjoyable puzzle today. Thanks to Jay & pommers!

    My favourite was 17d – Has this type of clue ever been bettered? All 15 letters?

  11. Just back from 8 days on holiday without the crossword and I have to give this a 3* or maybe I’m just out of practice. Taking a break from this exercise isn’t good. Thanks for the hints and I did like the spoonerism clue.

  12. Really enjoyed today’s which I thought was nicely pitched in terms of difficulty. I was stuck on NE the last two in being 9a (my favourite0 and 6d. A nice distraction from the commute and thank you to the setter and the review. Off Christmas shopping with Mr Amazon.

  13. Back again having been in B’ham helping a daughter move house – TOTALLY knackered – didn’t even look at yesterday’s so have that in store.
    Really enjoyed today’s and I think that, for me, 2* is about right. Absolutely couldn’t do 1a – whatever does that tell me?!! Husband walked in this evening and instantly said “Marbles – so that proves I haven’t lost mine – ha ha”!! There is nothing worse than a smug husband!! Loved lots of these, in particular 11, 16a and 7, 17 and 19d. Really DIDN’T like 7d illustration – what a nasty little thing! With thanks to Jay and Pommers.
    Cold, grey, miserable and VERY November. :sad: Big log fire going. :smile:

  14. Late input from me – got the DT very late as had to wait for the nurse to come and draw my blood to check the INR – a monthly occurrence. A sort of 14d!

    Faves : 1a, 11a, 13a, 16a, 25a, 7d, 16d & 19d.

    Pommers : re 13a, I thought of the man on the flying trapeze rather than aircraft!

    Enjoyable puzzle from Jay!

    1. I guess the tapeze idea works if that’s what springs to mind first. Never occured to me as ‘high fliers’ are usually birds or planes and then the penny dropped1

  15. 1a gave me some trouble!. I was sure that we were going to get a Chris De Burgh song at 11a as well – just shows the difference in the way people’s minds work!. Thanks to Jay and to pommers for the review – the usual good stuff on both counts.

    1. I know everyone is a bit different but for once I know why! Yesterday pommette and I were discussing her aged mother and wondering whether she’d lost her marbles completely or was just becoming a bit of a dotty old woman! So today I just read the clue and wrote in the answer! Simples!
      Still think the GOO in today’s Jay (19d) and the Grauniad Paul (5d) puzzles’s a bit spooky!

      1. I stared at GOO for ages, knowning the construction and wanting “sticky gunk” as _O_ just didnt help. I agree – I once wrote a solution in as I was just coming to terms with the clue when someone on the train seat opposite spoke the word on the phone – it was by no means common but serendipity and all that!

        1. It was my last in, even having done the Grauniad last night to give me a hint! I can’t get into the DT website between 00.00 and 0600 GMT so my late night solve has to e the gGrauniad – Paul is becoming my favourite setter!

  16. Going to bed now G’night all.

    But one last thing – the Spanish air display team are the only national team that uses yellow smoke. The reason is that the red-yellow-red in the picture is the national flag of Spain! I see a lot of these guys as they’re based at San Javier, about 40km away in a stright line, and they do a lot of practice around here.

  17. Like Pommers, 15a held me up – I put in dash as in dashed off a letter or story; also 20d I had Germany! – the letters of men inside gray as in grayed out or obscured.
    I quite enjoyed it – thanks to the setter and to pommers for the explanations.

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