DT 26729 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26729

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26729

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja where it’s pretty chilly but the sun’s just come over our back wall so it might warm up a bit soon.

The usual excellent stuff from Jay today which I really enjoyed solving.  Perhaps a bit more than usual because I actually met Jay at the Sloggers and Betters in Derby last week and a very nice chap he is! It’s a bit more personal when you can put a face to the setter! Based on my solving time I’ve gone for 2* difficulty but having written the hints I think there are a few tricky ones here so I won’t be surprised if people disagree.

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           A way of imagining a bit on the side? (7,8)
{LATERAL THINKING} – A cryptic definition of a way of imagining, or ‘thinking outside the box’.  You’ll need a bit of this to solve some of the clues in this puzzle!

9a           Faces drop during struggles (7)
{VISAGES} – Definition is faces. Take a word for drop or sink (3) and place it inside (during) a word for struggles or competes.

10a         Company scheme adopting single high-flier (2-5)
{CO PILOT} – This high flier is actually the First Officer in an airliner. It’s the usual abbreviation for company followed by a word for a scheme or plan with I inserted (adopting single).

11a         Cruel gibe — almost cause excitement (9)
{BARBAROUS} – A word meaning cruel or inhuman is a charade of a word for a gibe and a word meaning to cause excitement without its last letter (almost). I thought the definition was quite well disguised in this one, my last in.

12a         Turner departed around the end of March (5)
{LATHE} – This turner is a machine which turns. Take a word to describe someone who has departed (died) and insert H (around end of MarcH).

13a         Furthest goal confronting the majority (7)
{ENDMOST} – Definition is furthest. Take a word for goal or aim (3) and follow with a word for the majority (4).

15a         Sixty per cent of women — crazy for animals! (7)
{WOMBATS} – Take WOM (60% of WOMen) and a colloquial term for crazy and you get some Australian animals.

17a         Pay no attention to gentle rocking around front of car (7)
{NEGLECT} – A word for pay no attention or ignore is an anagram (rocking) of GENTLE around C (front of Car).

19a         Have search parties started at the beginning? (7)
{POSSESS} –  Search parties, in the Wild West perhaps, followed by S (Started at the beginning) gives a word meaning have or own.  Another well concealed definition!

21a         Head of city might love reporter’s finish (5)
{MAYOR} – The head of a city’s local government is a word meaning might followed by O (love) and R (reporteR’s finish).

23a         Almost complete support for teacher exercising authority (9)
{MASTERFUL} – A word for a male schoolteacher followed by (support) a word meaning complete without its last letter (almost) gives an adjective describing someone exercising authority.  I think this would work better as a down clue, unless I’m missing the point!

25a         Joker comes back with shapeless formula for novel (7)
{DRACULA} – This novel was written by Bram Stoker in 1897. Take a word for a joker or wit (4) and reverse it (comes back). Then remove the word meaning shape (shapeless) from FORMula and place the remaining 3 letters after the reversed joker.  This is another of those that’s a lot easier to solve than write a hint for!

26a         Improve at university level (7)
{UPGRADE} – A word meaning to improve is a charade of the usual word for being at university and a word for level, as in rank or quality.

27a         Operating procedure turning customer grey (sic) (8,7)
{COSMETIC SURGERY} – A type of operation is an anagram (turning) of CUSTOMER GREY SIC.


1d           Look feasible without one inspiring devotion (7)
{LOVABLE} – A common crosswordland word for look (2) followed by a word meaning feasible with the I removed (without one) gives an adjective describing something which inspires devotion or is well liked.

2d           Detect a serviceman’s concealed weapon (5)
{TASER} – This weapon is a sort of stun gun and its hidden (concealed) in detect a serviceman. I like the surface reading of this one.

3d           Outfit with morale destroyed in complicated procedures (9)
{RIGMAROLE} – A word for outfit or clothe followed by an anagram (destroyed) of MORALE gives a word for complicated procedures.

4d           Attack yobbo hugging tree (4,3)
{LASH OUT} – Another word for a yobbo or hooligan placed around (hugging) a tree gives a phrase meaning to attack

5d           Tool cuts a cow’s tail (7)
{HACKSAW} – A tool for cutting metal is made from a word for cuts or chops followed by A (from the clue) and W (coW’s tail).

6d           Country gentlemen take up opera and travel, finally (5)
{NEPAL} – This Himalayan country is made up of the last letters (finally) of the other words in the clue.

7d           Trouble with a flirt makes you uncomfortable (3,2,4)
{ILL  AT EASE} –Take one of the usual words for trouble, A (from the clue) and another word for a flirt and split the result (3,2,4) to get a phrase meaning uncomfortable or worried.

8d           Channels good for money in golf clubs? (7)
{GUTTERS} –Take some golf clubs and change the initial P to a G (Good for money) to get some channels, found along the side of a road perhaps.

14d         Takeaways that might spoil the canines? (5,4)
{DOGGY BAGS} – A cryptic definition of something used to take home unfinished food from a restaurant.

16d         Herald compiler on ship turning green! (9)
{MESSENGER} – This herald or deliverer of news, is made up of how the compiler may refer to himself, the usual ship and an anagram (turning) of GREEN.

17d         Unsettled comedian is worried, lacking energy (7)
{NOMADIC} – An adjective describing people who roam around, i.e. unsettled, is an anagram (is worried) of COMEDIAN but without the E (lacking Energy).

18d         Part of orchestra using tiny amp (7)
{TYMPANI} – These percussion instruments are an anagram (using) of TINY AMP.  I’m glad this was an anagram otherwise I would have spelled it wrong!

19d         Prior to calculations, regularly spooks animals (7)
{POSSUMS} – More Australian animals! This time take the alternate letters (regularly) of sPoOkS and place before (prior to) a word for arithmetical calculations.

20d         Dancing valkyries dismiss a king with a clear tone (7)
{SILVERY} – Remove the A and K (dismiss A King) from VALKYRIES and make an anagram (dancing) of what’s left to get a word describing a clear tone.

22d         Path unavailable in case of resistance (5)
{ROUTE} – Take a word which can mean unavailable, as in not in stock, and place it inside (in) RE (case of ResistancE) to get a path or course.  I seem to remember some discussion about this type of construction on my last blog – hope you’ve all remembered it!

24d         Distress signal emitted by fellow with real trouble (5)
{FLARE} – F(ellow) followed by an anagram (trouble) of REAL gives a distress signal which might be fired from a yacht in trouble.

I like all the ones in blue but favourites are 2d and 5d.

The Quick crossword pun: {billy} + {cows} = {bellicose} – I still think {Bleak House} is better!

33 comments on “DT 26729

  1. A very enjoyable puzzle, and I thought some of the surface readings were very good.
    Thanks to Jay, and to Pommers (My last in was the same as yours, 11a).

  2. Welcome back Pommers after your brief sojourn back in Blighty. I do hope the weather with you is a tad better than we have here at the moment, it’s Baltic!

    Oh yes – thanks for the review & to Jay for a congenial start to a miserably cold Tuesday.

    I do hope we have a better day with the Toughie today after yesterday’s outbreak of unpleasantness.

      1. I thought I’d got away with that faux pas! Actually my business does require me to work in more than one time zone hence I have clocks on my desk set to Tokyo time & to Buenos Aires time – that way I avoid waking people up in the middle of the night! I wish they had the same system…

  3. Hola pommers and welcome back, I actually managed this one today without any of my ‘friends’, whoopee!! Thats about 5 or 6 in two and a half years, I am so thrilled when I manage to do this, so thanks to Jay for todays puzzle :-D , having said that no reall favourite clue today, last in were 11a and 1d, good luck everyone, if I can do it anyone can, keep perservating :-) , off out to lunch later with my art group so see you all later

  4. Well, I am finding this hard going today, and on first reading, can’t see anything! Will have to persevere–perhaps it will all become clear eventually!

    Think I will have to use the hints—many thanks for the review.

  5. A very quick run through this morning. Enjoyable but finished far too quickly I’m afraid. 0.5* for difficulty, *** for enjoyment IMO. Still, different strokes for different folks. There are other days when everybody seems to find it ridiculously simple and I struggle. Thanks to Jay and to Pommers. BTW, I’d never heard of the answer to 18d being spelt with a Y, but it’s in my copy of Chambers with both spellings.

    1. Hi Roland
      I always thought it was spelled with an I but if you key that spelling into the on-line dictionary I use it redirects to the word spelled with a Y. As I said, if it hadn’t been an anagram I’d have spelled it wrong!

  6. I must admit to getting stuck for a few minutes in the NW corner,, but after (finally) getting 9A the rest fell into place. Excellent surface readings today and I particularly enjoyed 19D.

    Re the quickie: Pommers, you’ve given the pun as Bleak House, is this just your interpretation, or do you get insider knowledge? Personally, it sounds more like Bellicose to me.

    1. I too thought it was bellicose, skempie, but having seen the answer given here I think that’s better.

    2. For what it’s worth, I initially thought it was bellicose too but I wasn’t happy about the pronunciation of the third syllable, then Bleak House occurred to me which seemed much more satisfactory.

    3. We have no inside knowledge. The setter’s intended pun will be published in tomorrow’s paper (unless he comes on here later to tell us). It will be interesting to see.

  7. More difficult for me than Roland – 2.5*’s I think. Liked 25a. Last in 14d and 11a. Thanks to Pommers and Jay.

  8. I found it difficult on first read through but as I solved the clues, the rest became easier, even simple. Now I can’t see why it looked so hard. 3* for difficulty, 4* for enjoyment.. Thanks to Pommers for the hints which I didn’t need today, but explained why some of my answers were correct.

  9. I loved this one! :smile:
    I needed the hints to explain 6 and 8d and my last one in was 11a as with lots of other people – always nice to know that I’m in good company. Too many good clues to write them all down (and anyway my hands are so cold that I can only just type so may have to go and do the ironing to warm up!) Maybe 1 and 15a and 14d – they all made me smile.
    Thanks to Jay and Pommers – I agree about it being lovely to be able to attach a face to a name – makes all the difference.

    1. Hi Kath
      Not surprised about 11a being the one that seems to have caused most trouble!
      It’s a very well written clue IMO and the surface reading makes it difficult for the mind to separate the words CRUEL and GIBE, which is, of course, just what you have to do to reveal the definition!

      1. I spent ages trying to make it an anagram but it just wouldn’t work – then began to wonder if I’d got something wrong in one of the other clues (well, answers I suppose) before I finally got it. I think it is a very clever clue and certainly seems to have fooled quite a few of us!

  10. Very enjoyable and fairly straightforward thank you Jay. I loved the d’oh moment of 1a. Thanks to Pommers too.

    Today’s Toughie does what it says on the tin – well it did for me anyway.

  11. After some pretty poor crosswords this week it was a delight to have this one from Jay, not overly taxing but thoroughly enjoyable, favourite clue was 1a. Many thanks to Jay and to Pommers for the review.

  12. Found this very do-able today, apart from 11a. I got obsessed with the idea that either cruel or excited must be an anagram indicator. Last one in for me. Husband gone walking in shorts (!), despite gales and rain.

  13. Thanks to jay for the puzzle & Pommers for the review & hints. I really enjoyed this one, a lot of nice well-written clues. Favourites were 1a,15a,25a,2d,14d. Especially 2d as it was all about concealment :-)

  14. Usual slick clueing from Jay – thanks to him. Agree with pommers re difficulty. Laughed out loud at 4 and 7 down. Great stuff.

  15. 1a was also my favourite – I always give a little satisfied grunt when I remember it is Wednesday and Jay. Thanks to him and to pommers for the review.

  16. A very enjoyable puzzle.
    I got stuck on the NW corner as I first put in “wishful” instead of “lateral” for 1a.
    Faves : 1a, 25a, 8d & 20d.
    Thanks BD for the photos.

  17. Did crap in the quiz tonight so going to bed in a huff! We did win the sport round though as I could remember Craig Brown as manager of Scotland’s football team!
    Falcon’s back next week so see y’all in a fortnight.

  18. It was 1a that stumped me – had to go to the hints for that. Then the rest of the NW corner fell into place – including 11a! Got 6d but couldn’t think why, and was really bothered about “gentlemen” until I read the hints – doh! Good puzzle – perhaps I wasnt really “in the mode” to-day what with one thing and another, but enjoyed completing it. Thanks to Pommers and Jay.

  19. Finally started this at 9pm last night and just grabbed some time to finish it this morning. A rare excursion from the confines of the Clueless Club for me which suggests that the difficulty rating is completely fair and totally accurate, but I’d agree with the four stars for enjoyment too. Thanks to the setter and Pommers for the comments which I always enjoy reading.

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