DT 26724 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26724

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26724

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

It’s always a pleasure when you examine the Quick crossword and discover that they are all the clues and the answers are single words. It means that the odds are heavily on today’s setter being Ray T. I’m not too sure about the “former” in 11 across – is this scheme still going or is it history? [It seems that Ray T is correct in that the scheme is no longer, but the interviews are still with us.]

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    Bar sometimes hit by women making out? (5,7)
{GLASS CEILING} – a cryptic definition of an indistinct yet unmistakable barrier on the career ladder, through which some women find they can see but not progress

8a    Maroon, thus dead on island (7)
{ISOLATE} – a verb meaning to maroon is created by putting a two-letter word meaning thus and a synonym for dead after I(sland)

9a    Old rubbish assumed by socialist is spun (7)
{ROTATED} – put O(ld) and some rubbish inside (assumed by) one of the usual terms for a socialist to get a verb meaning spun or turned

11a    Former scheme providing skill after time off (7)
{RESTART} – this (former / current?) Government scheme for retraining is created by putting a skill after some time off work

12a    Cover for sewers? (7)
{THIMBLE} – this cover is for sewers or needle(wo)men

13a    Strength of donkey before effort ends (5)
{ASSET} – this strength or virtue is derived from another word for a donkey followed by the outside letters (ends) of E(ffor)T

14a    Hardy girl, least upset inside, getting vulgar (9)
{TASTELESS} – Thomas Hardy is cunningly disguised by being at the start of the clue! – put the name of a Hardy heroine around an anagram (upset) of LEAST to get an adjective meaning vulgar

16a    Set free from tempo, we’re dancing (9)
{EMPOWERED} – this verb meaning set free or enabled is hidden inside the final three words of the clue

19a    Last of precious metal covering European beer mug (5)
{STEIN} – start with the final letter of preciouS and then put a metal around E(uropean) to get a German beer mug

21a    Country air came blowing around (7)
{AMERICA} – this country comes from an anagram (blowing around) of AIR CAME

23a    ‘Disgusted…’ was in charge of suppressing obscenity (7)
{LOATHED} – this word meaning disgusted or repulsed is created by putting a three-letter word meaning was in charge of around (suppressing) an obscenity

24a    Amateur punched and floored (7)
{ABASHED} – A charade of A(mateur) and a verb meaning punched gives an adjective meaning floored or intimidated

25a    Cover loosely with top, respecting women (7)
{BESTREW} – this verb meaning to cover loosely with is a charade of a verb meaning to top or beat, a word meaning respecting or about and W(omen)

26a    Spies and creates commotion facing public toilet (6,6)
{SECRET AGENTS} – these spies are derived fro an anagram (commotion) of CREATES followed by a public toilet that is not for use by ladies


1d           Birds can be bitches! (7)
{GROUSES} – unfortunately these birds are the same in the plural as they are in the plural (thanks Kath for pointing this out)!  – the second definition does work as long as you take it as bitches or acts of grumbling or complaining

2d           Worker supporting first man to get tough (7)
{ADAMANT} – put a worker insect under (supporting in a down clue) the world’s first man to get an adjective meaning tough

3d           ‘Observer’ magazine (9)
{SPECTATOR} – a double definition  – an observer and the title of a magazine in the same stable as The Daily Telegraph

4d           Bird covered in detergent returned (5)
{EGRET} – this white heronis hidden and reversed (returned) inside one of the words of the clue

5d           Military no-go area? On the contrary! (7)
{LATRINE} – a cryptic definition of a toilet used by the military

6d           Somebody generous accepting thanks (7)
{NOTABLE} – this somebody or celebrity is created by putting an adjective meaning generous or public-spirited around (accepting) a two-letter way of saying thank you

7d           Queen in arena, diva’s perhaps showing range (6,6)
{SIERRA NEVADA} – put Ray T’s trademark Queen inside an anagram (perhaps) of ARENA, DIVA’S to get a range of mountains in in southern Spain

10d         Thrashing for being less smart? (8,4)
{DRESSING DOWN} – a double definition – a thrashing or ticking-off and being less smart or wearing informal clothes to the office

15d         One addition to ass perhaps women don’t want! (9)
{SADDLEBAG} – another double definition – something that could be carried by an ass or other beast of burden and excess fat around the hips and thighs

17d         Start march surrounding umpire (7)
{PREFACE} – this start or introduction is created by putting a march or stride around the name given to the umpire od a football match

18d         Where old fade away, say (7)
{WHITHER} – this old word for where sounds like (say) a verb meaning to fade away

19d         Final performance, almost, for film star (7)
{SWANSON} – an early chestnut for Christmas! – drop the last letter from a final performance to get the surname of film star Gloria

20d         Goads former wife preceding hard scraps (7)
{EXHORTS} – a verb meaning goads is a charade of the usual former wife (or partner), H(ard) and some scraps that I think were in a recent puzzle

22d         Check temperature underneath car (5)
{AUDIT} – an accounting check has T(emperature) underneath (in a down clue) a German car

Hope you all enjoyed this one – I certainly did.

Tilsit is hoping to be released from captivity today, and to be fit and raring to review tomorrow’s Toughie.

The Quick crossword pun: {hide} + {sum} {arch} = {Ides of March}

48 comments on “DT 26724

  1. Good morning Dave a tough one for me today but completed without the hints albeit with lots of help from electronic friends etc. fav clues today 5d & 6d

  2. Another tricksy but fun puzzle today. After several read throughs and only half a dozen clues solved, I thought I was going to be in trouble, but then I managed to get 8A followed by 1D, then 1A and the rest fell into place. Can’t say I’m totally convinced by 11A, but it was nice to see 25A making an appearance – I haven’t come across that word in years! Excellent anagram for 7D I thought, took a while for it to click.

    1. I agree, skempie, re 11a. Even after seeing Dave’s comments, I still don’t understand it. I got it from the second half of the clue.

  3. Have never been the first to comment before – but am sure that by the time I’ve finished writing I won’t be!! Lovely puzzle as always on “Ray T Thursdays” :smile:
    7d took me ages – always forget that meaning of range. Not too sure about 1d – isn’t the plural of the bird the same thing ie doesn’t have an “S”? Too many good clues to pick out any particular ones – perhaps 5 and 10d. With thanks to Ray T and BD.

  4. Completed quickly this morning – I must be “in the zone”. I wasn’t too convinced by “former” in 11a either, nor by 15d. Very enjoyable nonetheless. Many thanks to RayT and to BD for the review.

  5. Very enjoyable thank you Ray. Lots of fun, clever misleading and I liked the Quickie pun too. Thanks to BD as well.

  6. Just one thing Dave – 23a, where would you you loathed, instead of disgusted, eg ‘he loathed her’, isn’t the same as ‘he disgusted her’ , almost the opposite?

        1. Me too – I was going to “grouse” about this one but see it’s already been started on!! Something about the grammar there doesn’t quite jell, does it?
          Also found 11a rather “iffy”.

    1. One definition of ‘loathe’ is to feel disgust at, so ‘he loathed her’ means ‘he felt disgusted by/ (or) with her’.

      1. Yes Jezza but you couldn’t put ‘he disgusted her’ instead it means something completely different?

  7. Quite a leisurely stroll, but really enjoyed this one. I thought all the long clues were good, but my favourite was 5d. Thanks to RayT and BD

  8. I did not like this one at all!! And some of the clues IMHO are very iffy. I usually enjoy doing the daily Xword but had no enjoyment with this ! Anyone agree with me, or am I just having an off day? Thanks anyway to setter and hinter which I read avidly to make sense of the answers.

    1. I agree with you, Brenda. Needed many hints to complete this — would never have found 11a by myself and disagree that ‘loathe’ is the same as ‘disgust’.

  9. Despite the Queen clue, I thought this wasn’t Ray T, as I was under the (clearly mistaken) impression that he gave only single word answers in the Cryptic as well as the Quick. I got off to a slow start, then answers started falling into place and I found I was racing to the finish. This was one of the best crosswords for some time – some clever misdirection and delightful anagrams. This must be the first time I’ve got through a Ray without feeling intimidated – probably because I thought it wasn’t him!

  10. A very enjoyable puzzle. Re – 20d I remembered ‘ort’ from a recent clue. Liked 26a, and 15d made me laugh. Got the answer for 1a, but couldn’t see the relevance of ‘making out’. Thanks to BD and Ray T.

    1. I think that “making out”, apart from the obvious, means “to succeed”. Women who succeed often don’t do as well as similarly able men just because they’re women (I’m quoting, don’t necessarily agree) and hit the “glass ceiling”.

      1. Thanks Kath – knew about the concept of the ‘glass ceiling’, but didn’t know that ‘make out’ means ‘succeed’.

  11. As usual with Ray T, I needed several goes at this thought the morning. I agree with BD’s 3* and 4* ratings, except for 11a, which I’ve never heard of! 5d last to go in for me, which made me laugh. Thanks to Ray and Big Dave for an enjoyable puzzle and some essential hints.

    1. I was scrolling down and your comment whizzed past – could have sworn it said ‘needed several glasses’ – things always get easier that way, Lol.

  12. OK OK. You’ve all done jolly well. However I cant get an answer to 19 down even with a crossword solver! so can someone put me out of my misery please. Or will Dave be updating the blog soon?

  13. When I saw 5 and 26 I knew this had to be RayT. Most enjoyable as usual but maybe just a tad on the easy side. Its still the best this week. Favourites were 1a and 12. Thanks again, Ray.

  14. Thanks to Ray T and Big Dave for the review and hints. A super puzzle from Ray T, had a few head scratching moments but managed ok in the end. Too many favourites to mention, but the ones I really enjoyed were 3,5& 20d, the last one giving me a new word for scrap. Very enjoyable.

  15. 20d last in for me. Had the right answer, but must have missed the recent reference to the scraps mentioned by BD – now my “New Word of the Week”. Only slight moan would be the aforementioned plural at 1d, but hey……….! Enjoyed the trademark Quickie too. Thanks, guys.

  16. Harder than I expected today. 11a and 26a were my favourites, and 11a last in. Thanks Big Dave and RT.

  17. Enjoyed solving this one but found a few weaknesses in some clues eg 1d.

    19a & 19d best for me.

    Going out for dinner so must rush.

  18. Apart from moans up above (#7) I really enjoyed that one and was pleased to finish without the hints, though did need a bit of electronic help. Was delighted to get 7d which helped a lot on that side and was thrilled that my failing memory had, in fact, stored that funny little word in 20d!! Thanks to Ray T and BD for the explanations.

  19. alas the enforced driving up and down the A23 Meant that what I could solve today I realy enjoyed. No time to tackle the Toughie nor the Times. Thanks to all involved and to Ray, I will attempt to finish later!

  20. I’m obviously very much in a minority as I agree wholeheartedly with Brenda Reding. Today’s challenge provided almost no enjoyment for me – several questionable clues and little humour. I hope for better things tomorrow!

  21. I didn’t think this was up to Ray T’s usual (very high) standards – some clues in there that I thought were perhaps either a bit stretched or a bit obscure – 11a (as mentioned by others), 23a, 5d, 15d and 20d being particularly disappointing. Normally, with Ray’s puzzles, if I get stuck and check the hint or (if having real problems) read the answer, my reaction is usually ‘oh, of course, why didn’t I see that?’ – for a few today, it was more ‘what the…?’
    Having said that, there was plenty of sparkle and wit in the rest of the puzzle.
    I liked 16a for initially looking like an anagram when, in actual fact, it was a hidden word. 26a really did make me laugh, and 12a was a clever cryptic definition.
    3* for enjoyment, but I’m used to giving Ray a full 5*.

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