DT 26730

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26730

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I look forward on a Thursday to getting a Ray T puzzle, but one look at the Quick crossword confirmed that today is not his turn. Instead we have this puzzle, probably from Petitjean.

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    Like wheat from the West Country? (7)
{CORNISH} – this could mean like wheat or from the furthest county in the West Country

8a    Room for a mule maybe, but not to swing a cat! (7)
{SHOEBOX} – a carton into which a mule or slipper might be placed is also a very cramped room

10a    Ray the first to savour superior Friday treat? (4,6)
{FISH SUPPER} – the type of creature of which a ray is an example is followed by S (first to Savour) and a word meaning superior or higher to get a meal popular on a Friday – this is a Scottish term and means that the first item is served with chips

11a    Nothing odd about bird being late (4)
{DODO} – an anagram (about) of O (nothing) and ODD gives the extinct bird from the phrase “as dead as a ****”

12a    Appeal to lowest common denominator with stupid kind of clue (4,4)
{DUMB DOWN} – a verb meaning appeal to the lowest common denominator is a charade of a word meaning stupid and a kind of clue (but not this one!)

14a    Leaders of Brighton’s unsung Rossetti League all produce canvas (6)
{BURLAP} – the initial letters (leaders) of six words in the clue give this coarse canvas of jute or hemp

15a    Inside information acquired from private customers first (5,6)
{TRADE SECRET} – this Inside information is derived from a word meaning private preceded by customers

19a    Some of CAMRA’s ideas rejected and put out of action (6)
{DISARM} – hidden inside (some of) and reversed (rejected) two of the words of the clue is a verb meaning to put out of action

20a    Colleen introduced to some strange sticky stuff… (8)
{MOLASSES} – put a colleen or young girl inside (introduced to) an anagram (strange) of SOME to get this sticky stuff

22a    …that might be Irish dressing? (4)
{MAYO} – an Irish county is also a shortened word for a type of salad dressing

23a    Unusual bile upset a withdrawn Surrealist film-maker (4,6)
{LUIS BUÑUEL} – an anagram (upset) of UNUSU(A)L BILE without the A (a withdrawn) gives the name of a Surrealist film-maker

25a    Proposal to surround hotel with a variable formation of soldiers (7)
{PHALANX} – put a proposal or scheme around H(otel) and A from the clue) then add one of the usual three mathematical variables to get a solid formation of ancient Greek heavy-armed infantry

26a    Rustically simple window trim put back after DIY botch-up (7)
{IDYLLIC} – an adjective meaning rustically simple is derived from a window trim reversed (put back) following (after) an anagram (botch-up) of DIY


1d    Small amount of 1960s teen music is pointless and discordant (7)
{MODICUM} – this small amount comes from a 1960s teen (not a rocker – the other one!) followed by an anagram (discordant) of MU(S)IC without the S(outh) (pointless)

2d    Island race? Hardly (4)
{INCH} – a double definition – a Scottish word for an island and a verb meaning to move very slowly (race? hardly)

3d    Private secretary with European Union party is phoney (6)
{PSEUDO} – in this wordsum, string together the abbreviations of Private Secretary and European Union and then add a party to get an adjective meaning phoney

4d    Revolutionary cubist adopting different basis for what a look of innocence can be (8)
{CHERUBIC} – Crosswordland’s favourite revolutionary is followed by the inventor of a famous puzzle cube (cubist) the bottom letter in this down clue is changed (adopting different basis) to get what a look of innocence can be

5d    Sore head gets compassion (10)
{TENDERNESS} – a charade of an adjective meaning sore and a headland gives a word meaning compassion

6d    Glum character with Homeric expression declaimed poem (7)
{RONDEAU} – remember the Glums? – start with Eth’s beloved and then add what sounds like (declaimed) Homer Simpson’s famous expression to get a poem

9d    Caribbean paella? (7,4)
{SPANISH MAIN} – an old name for the Caribbean Sea could be a meal for Pommers and Pommette

13d    Floating melody in tavern song left echo (10)
{BARCAROLLE} – this gondolier’s song is a charade of a tavern, a Christmas song, L(eft) and the letter represented by Echo in the NATO phonetic alphabet

16d    Discard fish pudding (8)
{DUMPLING} – a charade of a word meaning to discard and a type of fish gives this pudding

17d    The cause of angler’s foot being in unusual pain on hot afternoon? (7)
{PIRANHA} – what might have caused an angler’s foot to be in pain is built up from the final letter (foot) of angleR inside an anagram (unusual) of PAIN followed by H(ot) and A(fternoon)

18d    Fourth and fifth from Lionel Messi with late positional change for deadly rival (7)
{NEMESIS} – start with the fourth and fifth letters of LioNEl then add MESSI after moving the final letter up one place (late positional change) to get a deadly rival

21d    Drive in the same place having look round (6)
{LIBIDO} – this sexual drive is created by putting the Latin term for “in the same place” inside a short word for look

24d    New university students amounting to nothing (4)
{NULL} – N(ew) plus U(niversity) plus two students / learners adds up to a word meaning nothing

That’s it for today!

The Quick crossword pun: {batter} + {seep} + {ark) = {Battersea Park}



  1. Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable; could not get 25a at all, and needed your help to explain to me how to arrive at my answer to 6d… struggling tho fit “Doh” in somewhere and then thought I must be on the wrong track with such a highbrow publication! Thanks to setter and BD.

  2. Roland
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    A superb puzzle today IMO. Lots of clever clues including 8a, 10a, 25a, 26a, 1d, 6d, 9d, 16d and 21d. 18d was my favourite though. The only disappointment for me today was that I couldn’t finish it, as I’ve never heard of the film-maker at 23a, so had to look him up. Many thanks to setter and to BD for the review.

    • Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I had heard of the film-maker, but had to check the spelling!

      • Roland
        Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        BTW – I see that the official answer in the paper to yesterday’s quick pun was “bellicose”. I still think Bleak House was better.

  3. Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I finished it with your help Dave but did not enjoy the puzzle overall. I think it was verging on Tougghie status. No one of my most pleasureable crosswords.

    Thanks to B Dave and Petitjean.

  4. Jezza
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I am probably in the minority, but I did not enjoy this one today. I found bits of it a slog, and found it more of a chore to complete.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD for the review.

    The Toughie on the other hand did not take me long today, and I liked it.

  5. Lord Luvvaduck
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I have to agree with Nubian – there is something about Thursdays; having completed the darn thing I tend to end up feeling vaguely disgruntled. While I accept that there are clever clues,some of them really do stretch the boundaries of the back page puzzle. I want something that can be done reasonably quickly – there are other things in life to be getting on with.

  6. Franny
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I didn’t enjoy this much either, sorry to say. Glad to see it got three stars. I needed more help than I like to ask for, and your hints BD to finish the SW corner. I got 26a eventually, though didn’t think ‘idyllic’ meant rustically simple, and don’t know what the window trim is. Isn’t ‘sill’ spelt with an ‘s’? Or am I being American? I didn’t like 1d and 13d, as they’re a kind of clue I find very difficult, and I would never have found 17d without the hint. Sometimes I don’t know where to begin. I did find the poem at 6d but missed the right Homer.

    That said, I did like 23a (well, it’s an anagram, isn’t it?) and 4d, so thanks to Petitjean and Big D. :-)

    • Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Cill is an alternative spelling of sill.

      • Franny
        Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        It would be!

  7. Domus
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    What a stinker; but very enjoyable. Never heard of 23a (tried to fit Winner in) but remember Eth’s beloved.

  8. Boltonbabs
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t finish it today, which is most unusual for us. Needed hints for 6a,8a and 17d, not to mention google for 23a. I suppose it is nice to be stretched but I prefer the rosy glow of satisfaction when I can put a big tick through the clues.

  9. Posted December 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Not exactly easy today. Not being a fan of surrealist films (prefer Indian Jones and Hot Fuzz types) I had no chance on 23A, even though I did figure out where the anagram was. Took a while to get 6D (even having got the correct Homer – was trying to fit D’OH in) Deau ! I thought 9D was an excellent clue and is my fave rave for today.

  10. Prolixic
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was enjoyable but hard work to complete. If this was Petitjean (it has his hallmarks), perhaps he put one of his Toughie crosswords in the wrong envelope!

    Many thanks to the setter for the crossword and to BD for the review.

  11. upthecreek
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I expected a RayT today but I was not disappointed as the puzzle was full of great clues. Favourites were 6, 8, 17 and 25. Had never heard of 23 but luckily Onelook had! Does anyone know who the setter was?

    • Prolixic
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Not with any certainty – however, the clues have many of Petitjeans’ hallmarks – lots of food, music and arts references and generally complex (but with fewer anagrams this time)!

  12. PoorlyPauly
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m also in the ‘not enjoyable’ camp. 6d in particular seems to be aimed at discouraging younger solvers who have no memory of a radio show that finished in 1960. Also thought other definitions were shaky, though I did solve the rest without help.

    • Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog PoorlyPauly

    • droolie
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      They may have finished making them in the 60s, but they’re still broadcast. Last Sunday morning on Radio 4 Extra for example.

      • Bob H
        Posted December 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        I always miss the good comedy shows on 4 extra perhaps I should get the radio times and do their crossword instead. Luis Who! Rondeau Pah. Still its good to be challenged once in a while.

        • Prolixic
          Posted December 8, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          Rondeau was one of my favourite clues. I am not old enough to remember the Glums when originally broadcast but had heard of “Ron and Eth”. To combine classic Radio comedy with the Simpsons gets a thumbs up in my book!

    • Aristotle
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Thanks PP. I was eight in 1960 and its great to be a considered a “younger solver”.

  13. Brian
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Def not my favourite, first one I haven’t completed for a while, far too complex for my simple brain. Did not like one little bit I’m afraid.

  14. crypticsue
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I found this one difficult (about three times as long as normal to complete) and I had a particulary d’oh-zy moment for which the assistance of Prolixic was much appreciated. I didn’t enjoy myself much either. Apologies and thanks to the setter and thanks to BD too.

    The Toughie didn’t take as long as this to complete and is much more fun.

    • Sarah F
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, I’ve had a look but think it will take me for ever, so will try the Toughie instead.

    • Roland
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Completed the Toughie in about the same time I’d say. That’s two on the trot, I might have to start doing the Toughie on a regular basis – so long as work doesn’t get in the way!

  15. Jay
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    As do I!

    • Jay
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Apologies – that should have gone to Roland!

  16. BigBoab
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Almost toughie standard but enjoyable enough with a few “duh” moments, 6d defeated me until I read the hints, ( not a Simpsons fan or indeed a glums fan. ) Thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints.

  17. Kath
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    This one is putting up a real fight – have been battling for ages and STILL only done about twelve or so! Oh dear!! :sad:
    Haven’t looked at hints yet – thought I’d see what the general feeling was by reading the comments – off for drizzly, windy grey dog walk (the weather is grey, not the dog!) and then back to carry on what I suspect is going to be an unequal struggle.

    • crypticsue
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Move on to the Toughie and come back to this one later, would be my advice.

  18. Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Agree with others that this is a Toughie in disguise! Certainly took pommette and I a lot longer than today’s Toughie took me this morning!
    Never heard of the film maker but guessed it from the checkers and the anagram fodder.
    Thanks to the setter for a great workout and to BD for the hints.

  19. St. George
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    What an struggle, very little enjoyment from this puzzle!

  20. andy
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Certainly one of the tougher ones of late. Mispelling 17d made 25a the last in. 8a and 18d favourites today. Thanks to Setter and BD

  21. Harport
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one very much. It has some realy good smile-inducing clues. I particularly enjoyed 18d, the Lionel Messi clue: it’s as beautiful involved as his tricky feet.

    • Harport
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear, the cold must have got to my fingers. For ‘realy’ read ‘really’ and for ‘beautiful’ read ‘beautifully’.

  22. gazza
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one a lot – although it took me longer than the Toughie I thought it was more entertaining, but I do appreciate that many solvers won’t be old enough to remember the dysfunctional Glum family. Point of trivia – Dick Bentley who played Ron was actually 12 years older than his “father” Jimmy Edwards.

  23. Franco
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    A lot more difficult than 3* but also more enjoyable than 3* – if we cannot have a RayT on Thursday, today’s compiler is an excellent substitute.

    Favourites (from many):

    9d – I have always thought (for some strange reason) that the “Spanish Main” was located somewhere near Spain!

    18d – the Messi Clue – I missed the full significance of “..with late positional change…”.

  24. Brian
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    With the help of Mrs B and the hints I managed to complete this one. Never heard of 23a, 13d, the Latin phrase in 26a, too young to remember the Glums and as for 17d OH COME ON! For me the only word that sums up today’s puzzle is GHASTLY.

  25. njm
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Found this neutral for enjoyment, most not too difficult to get with some thought, but would never have got 6d, 23a or 21d without Big Dave. Also never heard of 13d, so thanks to electronic friends for that one. On the bright side, I laughed out loud when the penny dropped for 9d! Hopefully tomorrow’s puzzle will be a bit less devilish.

  26. Derek
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Somewhat trickier fare this Thursday!
    Faves : 12a, 15a, 23a, 1d, 4d, 13d & 18d.

    Weather today wet and windy bringing down many sizable branches from the trees.
    Under two weeks to the solstice when it slowly starts to get lighter – hopefully.

    • Franco
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Derek, looking forward to the Solstice – it always get lighter! Hopefully, it doesn’t get colder! Brrrrrr!

  27. Kath
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Have finally admitted defeat and looked at the hints for more clues than I remember needing for a long time, if ever! Not so much on the wrong wave length today as total lack of reception – just COULDN’T do it. Oh well – too bad. Might have a look at the toughie later provided it’s not going to put yet another dent in the confidence.
    Having said that there were lots of clues I enjoyed – 8, 10, 12 and 26a and 2 and 5d. With thanks to the setter and to BD for the very much needed hints, and, in several cases, answers too! :sad:

  28. Kath
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    A quick question about the stars at the top for rating the puzzle. Is it meant to be personal enjoyment or how good the puzzle is? I didn’t really enjoy this one very much as it was too far beyond me to enjoy but I can see that a lot of the clues are very clever, especially now I know the answers!! (The problem was that they were too clever for me.)

    • gazza
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know about other bloggers but I just set it according to how much I’ve enjoyed the puzzle (I would have given this one four stars).

      • Kath
        Posted December 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza – that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing since I found this blog. Don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to think about it before!

    • Posted December 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      When I do the Wednesday blog the difficulty rating is quite simply done from the time it takes me to solve. That can cause problems if I get stuck on one particular clue so extend my time – but what else can I do? Enjoyment rating is purely personal!

      • Prolixic
        Posted December 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        My approach too. Enjoyment is inherently subjective. Difficulty depends on how long it takes (a) to complete and (b) explain how you get to the answer (the two are not the same!).

        Any rating is always relative and dependent upon experience. I mentioned to a fellow solver at work that today’s was tricky and he wryly commented that it must have taken me more than ****** minutes (self-censored in case anyone asks).

  29. Grumpy Andrew
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Awful. Was this a Guardian crossword in disguise?

  30. Addicted
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Well, I had to look at the hints to even get started to-day – after three careful read-throughs I thought I might have solved 2 clues, so checked they were right. Then read the blog and was relieved to find it’s not just me having difficulty. Looked at the answer for 23a – never heard of him (has anyone?), so now at least I have a few in and will go and pour a pre-prandial and see if I can do any more.

  31. Heno
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the setter & Big Dave. Too tough for me, needed 7 hints to complete and had to look up 2 of those. Found it quite educational what with Luis Bunuel, barcarolle, ibid & mule for a slipper. Favourites were 7,11a & 4,5d. A well constructed entertaining puzzle.

    • Franco
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Buñuel – What no Tilde? Null!

  32. Addicted
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Well, the pre-prandial helped a bit but still had to resort to hints to finish as was getting totally fed up!! Don’t like 16d – as far as I’m concerned, it’s something that goes in a stew and nothing whatsoever to do with pudding!!! Solved more than I thought I might, but didn’t like it – sorry! Without hints would be lost – so many thanks for those.

    • gazza
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you like apple dumplings?

      • Addicted
        Posted December 8, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        Do you now what Gazza? I don’ believe I’ve ever had them!
        I forgot to mention earlier that my beloved and reliable paper delivery man let me down to-day and delivered, instead of the DT, dare I say it?? hush ….”The Mail”. So, I was forced to sally forth to the local shop to buy the paper I wanted and, do you know what? – I’m almost sorry I made the effort – I just SO hated that crosswoard! Hey ho – perhaps tomorrow will be sunnier again!

      • Kath
        Posted December 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        I’m with Addicted here – dumplings go with stew. I have heard of apple dumplings, now that you’ve mentioned them, but have never had them, let alone made them.

        • crypticsue
          Posted December 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

          I have a lovely recipe for apple dumplings with blackberry sauce. I will try and find the safe place I put it in.

    • Posted December 9, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Hi Addicted
      I had a different take on this one! Where I come from both PUDDING and DUMPLING are affectionate terms for someone who’s a bit silly but still loveable.

  33. Tim
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Since when has A meant afternoon? PM maybe but not A. Grumble, moan etc. !

    • Prolixic
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Chambers gives a. as an abbreviation for afternoon so is therefore fair game for those who adopt the “if it is in Chambers it’s fair” approach!

  34. Little Dave
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Tough today and never really got into it.

  35. mary
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Finished this early on but it took me ages, I was convinced it was RayT until you said Dave because it was so hard IMHO, a 3 for me at least maybe even a 4 because of 23a and 25a, had to be out most of yesterday, thus no comment, finding todays pretty tough so far too!