DT 26723 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26723

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26723

Hints and tips by Falcon

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

Greetings from Ottawa where we are experiencing rainy and unseasonably mild weather (rather British-like, I suppose) after a snowfall last week. Today, Jay gives us an entertaining puzzle with a theme appropriate to the date. I breezed through the bottom half but struggled a bit with the top half (in particular, the northwest quadrant). Perhaps my Scottish ancestry influenced the enjoyment factor.

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.


7a   Cross when back legs start to get weary (7)
{SALTIRE} – a kind of cross, symbolic of the personage celebrated today as well as the country in 20a, is formed from a charade of a synonym for “when” reversed (back) plus the starting letter of L(egs) plus a verb meaning to get weary.

8a   Order new titles with hope at first (7)
{THISTLE} – an anagram (new) of the combination of TITLES plus the first letter of H(ope) produces the floral emblem of the country that is celebrating today. This image is especially for Gazza …

10a   Help required to follow trial? (7,3)
{HEARING AID} – the sort of assistance that someone who is aurally impaired might need to take in a court proceeding.

11a   Unable to pitch? (4)
{CANT} – a synonym for slope or tilt when written (3’1) is a contraction meaning unable to.

12a   Instruments played by smoker wearing trousers? (8)
{BAGPIPES} – a pair of loose-fitting trousers is wrapped around an implement in which tobacco is burned to create a musical instrument – one associated with the country in 20a.

14a   Impressed drivers finally in front of commercial vehicle (6)
{STRUCK} – a term denoting having created a strong and lasting impression is the sum of the final letter of (driver)S plus what a lorry would be known as on my side of the Atlantic.

15a   Andrew perhaps is not partisan in dispute (6,5)
{PATRON SAINT} – the position occupied by the person celebrated today in 20a is an anagram (in dispute) of NOT PARTISAN.

19a   Burns food for 20? (6)
{HAGGIS} – the food traditionally served at festivities celebrating the national poet of 20a.

20a   Bed left in smooth state once (8)
{SCOTLAND} – the country, no longer a state, that is celebrating today is formed by placing a bed for a young child as well as L(eft) inside a verb meaning to smooth or polish a surface.

22a   Food like this has a good filling (4)
{SAGO} – a sweet pudding is made by filling a two-letter word meaning ‘like this’ (as in “Do it just like this”) with A (from the clue) and G(ood).

23a   Polish and sign lists of technical terms (10)
{GLOSSARIES} – these lists of technical terms are a charade of a noun meaning a shine or polish and the first sign of the zodiac.

25a   Sounded exhausted around lunchtime, and put a coat on (7)
{PAINTED} – another way of saying gasped for breath is put around the time when one might have a rather late lunch (by my standards, at least) to create a word meaning applied a coat – perhaps to a wall, or …

I couldn’t find an image featuring Scottish lassies, so I had to settle for some Canadian girls unwrapped in our flag.

26a   Bewildered, finding inspiration in place of rest (7)
{BEMUSED} – this synonym for bewildered is created by tucking a goddess who inspires the creation of literature and the arts into a place where she can sleep for the night.


1d   They may shoot, letting out a scream (7)
{CAMERAS} – these devices, used to capture the moment, are an anagram (letting out) of A SCREAM.

2d   Mix the ingredients for porridge (4)
{STIR} – in this double definition, a cooking instruction to mix the ingredients is also a slang term for a prison.

3d   Runs into writer leading partnership agreement (6)
{PRENUP} – insert R(uns) into a charade of a writing implement (or, figuratively, a writer) and a word denoting being ahead in a competition to get the sort of agreement commonly entered into by celebrities before tying the knot (and which often becomes the subject of litigation not long afterwards).

4d   Greek island — one suppressing a country no longer (8)
{RHODESIA} – a charade of a Greek island (or an English-born South African mining magnate), the Roman numeral for one and A (being suppressed because it is under all the other letters in a down clue) produces an African country that no longer exists (and one that wasn’t recognized when it did exist).

5d   Arrange loan with choirs performing at the same time (10)
{ISOCHRONAL} – an anagram (arrange) of LOAN and CHOIRS makes an adjective meaning (according to Chambers) performed or happening at the same time. [I could find this version of the definition no where else, as other dictionaries define the term solely in the sense of having the same duration (which is also in Chambers). Two events can certainly have the same duration without happening at the same time.]

6d   Former police station is the cause of all evil (3,4)
{OLD NICK} – a slangy British way of saying “former police station” is also a colloquial name for the devil.

9d   Gossip hasn’t ruined stroke (7,4)
{PASSING SHOT} – a tennis stroke that puts the ball beyond and out of reach of one’s opponent is an anagram of GOSSIP HASN’T.

13d   Where children might enjoy quiet wager on good game of golf? (10)
{PLAYGROUND} – a spot where youngsters might amuse themselves is created by assembling the musical direction for quiet, another word meaning to place a bet, G(ood) and a complete tour of the golf course (or drinks for all at the 19th hole).

16d   Calmly submissive, offered to leave (8)
{RESIGNED} – accepting of one’s fate or announced one’s intention to vacate one’s post.

17d   Off supporting Triumph plant? (7)
{CARAWAY} – this plant of the parsley family, whose seeds (which are actually fruits, according to Wikipedia) are used for flavouring, is constructed from a type of vehicle (of which a Triumph is an example, as indicated by the question mark) followed by (being supported by in a down clue) a word meaning off (out of the office, perhaps). Now, here’s one for Pommers …

18d   Went in bearing tender for exchange (7)
{ENTERED} – a word meaning “went in” (perhaps a room or a competition) is an anagram of one of the cardinal points of the compass together with TENDER.

21d   Food that may be caught in cowboy’s territory (6)
{OYSTER} – hidden (caught) in the last two words of the clue is a type of seafood reputed to increase the libido. I’m not too sure that this fishery is a big industry in Cowboy Country! Maybe the setter had prairie oysters in mind! Or Naked Cowboy Oysters – claimed to be the number one selling brand of oysters in Manhattan. And finally, a pic for the ladies …

24d   Overwhelming victory right away? (4)
{ROUT} – a complete defeat might come from R(ight) and a word meaning away (from the office, perhaps, yet again).

So let me extend greetings on this St. Andrew’s Day to all Scots, those of Scottish descent, and wannabe Scots. There are so many good clues that it seems unfair to pick a favourite. I certainly liked all of the clues that were part of the theme. As well, I rather liked 10a and 25a, and – being originally from the coast – found the absurdity of 21d to be rather amusing.

The Quick crossword pun, in keeping with today’s theme: {myrrh} + {laugh} + {kin} + {tire} = {Mull of Kintyre}

53 comments on “DT 26723

  1. Many thanks to Jay for today’s wee timorous beastie – highly enjoyable to solve. Thanks too to Falcon for the review.

  2. A cracking puzzle today. It took me a tad longer than normal for a Wednesday, and a few trickier constructs than we might normally expect.
    Thanks to Jay, and to Falcon for the notes.

  3. Serves me right for setting a new record yesterday – couldn’t really get into this for a while even after spotting the theme and took me quite a bit longer than normal. Also took me ages to work out how the clue led to the obvious answer in 20A.

    Thanks to Jay and Falcon .

  4. Thanks to Jay and Falcon for the hints. I enjoyed this one, some very good clues. Needed the hints for for 4& 17,which ended a run of nine consecutive completions! Favourites were 23 & 26.

  5. Having only done one clue on the first scan of the clues, things looked ominous! Thanks to Falcon, I then realised today is St Andrew’s Day and it all became easier. Still needed Falcon’s hint for 7a (a word I never remember) and my electronic friends for 5d ( a word I’d never heard of!!). Pleased to finish, but I can’t really say I enjoyed it much.

  6. Greetings from Koh Samui in the south china sea. 32o and very pleasent, exactly likes today’s super puzzle, even learnt a new word, 5d. Mrs B says I only bought the iPad to get the DT and the crossword, worth every penny -:). Thx to all.

  7. The answers to 22a and 21d are hidden in the clues, so the explanations given are not only tortuous, but unnecessary.

    1. Hi Chris,

      You are certainly correct that the solution to 22a is hidden in the clue – something i failed to notice. As usual, if there’s a hard road and an easy road, it seems that I always choose the hard one. However, I don’t see how your point applies to the hint for 21d which clearly indicates that the solution is hidden in the clue.

      1. It could be, at least, a prairie oyster could be. I would guess not many of them are eaten knowingly, so there should be quite a few of them going spare. Personally, I prefer the cocktail, but only just.

  8. 22a Also has the answer in the clue – haS A GOod filling. Which is how I got it. Thanks for the hints.

  9. Good morning Falcon, not ‘seen’ you for a while, it took me ages to get going on this and even after finishing it I didn’t realise it was St Andrews day until I read your hints!! It would certainly have made the puzzle a lot easier if I had known this, once again I think the clues were ‘workable’ with a lot of thought and perservation, I’d never heard of 5d or 8a and didn’t spot that 22a was an inclusive clue working it out by putting ‘so’ for ‘like this’ with a and g inside, so clever clue, spotted the cowboys oyster straight away, nice guitar by the way :-D, a definite 3* at least for me today, needing lots of help from electronic friends etc!

    1. Hi Mary,

      My background in telecommunications engineering helped with 5d where a different variant of the word (isochronous) was often used. by the way, did you really mean to write 8a? As for 22a, it is beginning to look like I am the only one not to spot the hidden word.

  10. Thanks to Falcon. Needed the hints for NW corner after solving the rest fairly quickly. Enjoyed the puzzle, but not really happy with 1A. The single letter indicator doesn’t seem right to me. Thx to the setter

      1. Yes, totally. Legs start does not equal L. Leg’s start, legs’ start or start of legs all do. This totally threw me and spoilt an otherwise decent puzzle.

        1. Just for information, 7a was my last one in today, and I ‘logged on’ specifically to check the ‘L’ in 7a, so you weren’t the only one external!

  11. Anyone would think it was a special day today. Very enjoyable today, some very clever cluing and some nice answers. I particularly enjoyed the clues for 7A, 12A and 23A and the answers for 5D and 21D.
    Having seen the news yesterday, I’m surprised there were no references to floods, deluges, Noah, etc.

  12. Had to do this on my own as husband goes walking on a Wednesday, so was pleasantly surprised to finish it. Had a slow start but speeded up once I had spotted the theme. Do other people find that if you come back to it, after a short break, things seem to fall into place?

    1. Yes, Bb, I left this and came back to it three times, each time I ‘saw’ an answer that I didn’t spot previously :-)

    2. That certainly happens to me. I was finding it difficult first thing but had to go out for a while. When I returned it was eminently do-able.

    3. Yes – the brain seems to be able to carry on working things out all on its own! Quite often come up with an answer while out on a dog walk when I wasn’t even consciously thinking about it. :smile:

  13. There was only really th start of 5d to trouble me today but it was a fun puzzle with a nice theme (all google can come up with is Mark Twain’s birthday). Thanks to Jay and Falcon (a well balanced and fun review). Do our Caledonian friends celebrate today quite as they would Burn’s Night?

  14. I thought this was a tad trickier than is usual for a Wednesday but enjoyed it very much – enjoyed the review too, so thanks to Falcon. I was very slow to get started on this one, then the bottom half fell into place and eventually it was the top left hand corner that took ages. Thought that I was NEVER going to get 1d having managed to convince myself that it was going to be a plant – how silly! Also took some time to explain why 7a was what it had to be. I’ve never heard of 5d but, having decided what the last seven letters were, there weren’t too many other options. Clues that I particularly liked include 10, 12 and 23a and 6 and 9d. With thanks to Jay and Falcon.

      1. Oh dear – shall we both go to the bottom of the class? Actually, I suppose there’s no-one to send us there since all the teachers are on strike today!

  15. A very enjoyable themed crossword thank you Jay. It took me a teeny bit longer than usual mainly because of 5d (where Tippex was applied!). Thanks to Falcon for the excellent review too.

    The Shamus Toughie didn’t take me much longer and is enjoyable, so give it a go.

  16. Pure dead brilliant so it wis! Thanks to Jay for a wonderful theme and to Falcon for an equally wonderful review. Slainte!

  17. Really enjoyed this today, had to double check 5d and also missed the hidden word in 22a despite getting the answer by another method. Thanks to Jay and Falcon

  18. Really struggled with this one and thought it was going to be a non-starter until some light suddenly dawned – getting 9d helped a lot, that’s why I like anagrams! Needed hints for 7a and 17d but otherwise succeeded. Partic like 10 & 12a. Thanks to Jay and Falcon for the necessary hints.

    1. Hi Russ – welcome to the blog.
      I’ve edited your comment because we try to stop people posting solving times here (it can get very competitive and it discourages those who take a lot longer).

  19. A magnificent puzzle from Jeremy considering the date!!
    Aside from all the clues relating to Bonnie Scotland, I liked : 5d, 9d & 18d.
    Surely 3d should be 3 – 3 not 6?

    Weather in NL still magnificent – tomorrow is December!

    1. I’m with you on this – I loved the themed crossword (and only realised what day it was about halfway through…) but I hated 3D.
      Yes, it’s in the COED etc. but it is an abomination!
      Thanks, I feel better now :-)

  20. I haven’t enjoyed a DT Xwd so much in a long time. I got two clues in the first go around but then I got in the groove and it was challenging enough to stretch my brain without frustrating it. The clues were all right on the nail and I learnt a new word in 5d.

  21. 5d was a new word for me and strangely for an anagram was my last one solved. 12a my favourite. Best of the week thus far. 3*.

  22. Really enjoyed the St Andrew’s Day puzzle my only two problems were 7a and 5 d. As it turned out, when I consulted Falcon, both words were new to me so I never would have got the answers. Thank you Jay and Falcon.

    1. Hi Denis,

      If you highlight the space between the curly brackets, you will see the solution to the clue. There is no 1a. If you meant 7a, the wordplay is SA {AS (when) reversed (back)} + starting letter of L(egs) + TIRE (to get weary) giving SALTIRE, the cross associated with St. Andrew and the one that appears on the Scottish flag. On the other hand, if you meant 1d, the first part of the clue is a cryptic definition for the device used by photographers to shoot pictures.

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