DT 26714 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26714

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26714

A full review by Crypticsue

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BD Rating –Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

The Saturday Mysteron’s turn to entertain us this week and he didn’t disappoint.   A very entertaining mix of clues, complete with a nice example of relevant  back page product placement for those of us who still solve using the newspaper version.  Favourites are, as usual, marked in blue.

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           Vote against holding old runner in battle site (6)
NASEBY – One of the key battles in the English Civil War was fought at NASEBY.    Insert (holding) SEB (Sebastian Coe was an athlete in the 80s which I suppose makes him old) into NAY (a vote against).

4a           TV quiz to encourage top teachers (8)
EGGHEADS –   A charade of EGG (encourage, incite) and HEADS (the top teachers in any school) gives us the BBC2 quiz.

9a           Make a mess of role initially taken by old film star (6)
GARBLE –  A verb meaning to make a mess of by mangling, jumbling or distorting –   Insert R (role initially) into GABLE – the old actor being Clark Gable, who I mainly remember for his role in Gone with the Wind.

10a         One slow to move making mistake in simple goal (8)
TERRAPIN –  A slow moving reptile – insert ERR (mistake) into TAP IN (a simple shot from a short distance into an undefended football goal).

11a         Character created by Robert Louis S pants (4,5)
LONG JOHNS –  The pirate captain in Treasure Island was LONG JOHN SILVER.  Using only the initial of his surname, as the clue does with Robert Louis S[tevenson], leaves you with the type of long underpants needed in cold weather.

13a         Vessel ultimately represented by ‘Queen Elizabeth’ (5)
LINER –  Several ocean-going ships have been named ‘Queen Elizabeth’ – each one is a LINER – the last letter (ultimately) of vesseL, IN (represented by) and ER (the cipher of our current Queen).   I think this qualifies as an all-in-one or &Lit as, if asked to name a liner, most people would probably think of the  Queen Elizabeth, either the original one launched in 1938, the QE2 launched in 1969 or the latest version, known as QE, launched in 2010.

14a         Girl in lobby, one making flying visit (4,2,7)
BIRD OF PASSAGE –   A girl or BIRD in or OF the Lobby or PASSAGE – someone who shifts from place to place making temporary visits, likened to a cuckoo or swallow.

17a         Sulk about a top man who gets English having fun (6,7)
MAKING WHOOPEE  –   I do like a clue that makes you want to burst into an old song!   First  take MOPE (sulk) and then insert  into it A (from the clue) KING ( top man) WHO (from the clue) and E (English).    MAKING WHOOPEE is defined by Chambers as an informal expression meaning to indulge in hilarious fun or frivolity or make love.    The latter definition probably depends on who was singing the song – surely not one of Doris Day’s characters!

21a         What prisoners picked tree with little hesitation (5)
OAKUM –   Prisoners were employed to untwist and tease out old tarred ropes to make OAKUM which was used to caulk or seal the seams of wooden ships.   A simple charade of OAK (tree) and UM (a little hesitation).

23a         Wicked intelligence about a fire raging (9)
NEFARIOUS  – An adjective meaning extremely wicked –   NOUS (intellect or common sense) with an anagram (raging) of A FIRE inserted (about).

24a         Fur encloses relation (8)
SEALSKIN –  A type of fur is obtained from SEALS (encloses is one of the many definitions of seals) and KIN (relation, family).

25a         Person who’s let the French understand (6)
LESSEE  –  The correct term for a person or business to which a lease is granted – LES (the French plural of the) and SEE (understand, get). 

26a         Doctor replacing first item of communication mounted competition (8)
DRESSAGE –   Replace the first letter M of MESSAGE (a type of communication) with DR (the abbreviation for doctor)  – DRESSAGE is a competition where horses and their rides are judged on deportment and control during the undertaking of various manoeuvres.

27a         Strange child most likely to come up (4-2)
ODDS-ON  –   Rearranging the letters 4-2 of ODD SON  strange child)  produces an  expression meaning having a better than even chance of occurring.


1d           Get annoyed dropping a couple of grand in river (6)
NIGGLE – To get annoyed over minor details, worry, irritate or nag  – insert two Gs (a couple of grand – 1,000 US Dollars is referred to as a grand) into the river NILE.  There are always people on a Saturday who have niggles with clues, and I was much amused to note that this one aptly caused more than a few comments!!

2d           South African sportsman brings Kop frenzy (9)
SPRINGBOK  – A South African international sportsman, named after a type of antelope, is an anagram (frenzy) of BRINGS KOP.

3d           Cover that’s seen through England batsman’s clash (4,3)
BELL JAR –  A glass jar used to cover laboratory experiments or to protect ornaments or flower arrangements.   A charade of BELL (Ian Bell the English cricketer) and JAR (clash, quarrel).

5d           Sort of paper treated opera-goers fine (11)
GREASEPROOF –  The sort of paper used in cooking is an anagram (treated) of OPERA GOERS and F (fine).

6d           Wild rush led athletics event (7)
HURDLES –  Another anagram (wild)  –  RUSH LED rearranged gives a type of race where the athletes jump over hurdles.

7d           Like to confine a shaky tree (5)
ASPEN –  AS (like, in so far as) and PEN (confine or keep in a pen) – the ASPEN tree is also known as the trembling poplar.

8d           Prepares tomatoes for Italian restaurant’s various items (8)
SUNDRIES  –  Originally a speciality of Italian restaurants but now used more widely.   SUN DRIES, ie prepares  tomatoes  for preserving by leaving them to dry in the sun.  Miss out the space and you get SUNDRIES or miscellaneous items, usually of small value.

12d         Cheating outlaw with family in flight (11)
HOODWINKING –   Cheating or deceiving –   HOOD (Robin the outlaw) followed by WING (flight) into which is inserted, for the second time today, KIN, this time meaning family.

15d         Consuming Old Peculiar see a lush in such places? (9)
ALEHOUSES – An anagram (peculiar) of SEE A LUSH with O (old) inserted (consuming) produces the sort of places where Old Peculiar and other beers would be imbibed.   A splendid  & Lit clue, made even more splendid for us paper solvers by the placement of two advertisements for Theakstons (who just happen to be the brewers of Old Peculiar beer) beside the crossword grid.   

 16d        Some debs settled in relief (8)
EMBOSSED  –  Raised in relief or ornamented with raised work – an anagram (settled) of SOME DEBS.

18d         Some fantasise mentally overturning unbeatable opponent (7)
NEMESIS –  The nice reversal indicator overturning tell us that an unbeatable opponent  is hidden in reverse in fantaSISE MENtally.

19d         Warn of drink leading to death (7)
PORTEND – To warn of something to come – PORT (a fortified wine) and END (death).

20d         Like seabird on back of ship (6)
ASTERN –  AS [A} TERN or ASTERN – the back of a ship.

22d         Rogue mentioned in middle of church (5)
KNAVE –   A rogue or KNAVE sounds like the NAVE of a church.

I won’t be reviewing next Saturday’s prize puzzle as I am going to be providing the Hints & Tips on the day while Big Dave is in Derby for the Sloggers and Betters Gathering.

1 comment on “DT 26714

  1. Enjoyable enough crossword but a shade too simplistic. Thanks tothe setter and to Crypticsue for a super review.

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