DT 26744 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26744 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26744 (Hints)

The Christmas Eve Crossword Club

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Merry Christmas everyone.

I have added another new entry to The Mine.

The letters of the Hebrew Alphabet appear from time to time in crosswords, so now you now where to find them.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a           Two presents intended to pacify (3,3)
Repeat the word meaning present or at this time to get an expression that is intended to pacify

9a           Toy that will be welcome at the children’s party (6)
A double definition – to toy or amuse and food for a children’s party

14a         You might say it when offering a gift or present (4)
The word you might say when offering a gift to someone also means present or at this place

17a         Waits for them! (5,7)
I hope you were paying attention last Monday – if you were then you will know who the waits are!

31a         Peels off layers of snow-crystals (6)
A double definition – peels off layers, of paint perhaps, and snow-crystals

ARVE Error: need id and provider


1d           Fruit to come out following the bird (8)
A charade of a hard fruit and a verb meaning to come out, as a baby chick might, gives a small songbird with a stiffened tail

5d           Four Christmas presents from Carol (7,5)
Five golden rings, four ………

15d         Drinking bender (5)
A cryptic definition of what has to be bent in order to drink a pint of beer!

21d         Warning the tree is about to be taken down (6)
What the lumberjack shouts when a tree is falling!

27d         Turkey wrapper in hamper (4)
As a noun this is something in which you might wrap the turkey and as a verb it means to hamper

The Crossword Club is now open.  Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

The Quick crossword pun: {piece} + {unearth} = {peace on earth}

86 comments on “DT 26744 (Hints)

  1. The left hand side went in quite quickly, but the right hand side needed a lot more thought. Not over keen on 5d, but enjoyed the rest very much. Thanks to BD and the setter, I’ll be off soon to bend the merry 15d, so Merry Christmas one and ale! Sorry, all!

  2. Reading yesterday’s comments, I thought that I had lost the opportunity to send Season’s Greetings to all the contributors to this wonderful site. However, Big Dave has rescued me so a big ‘thank you’ to him [and Mrs BD] and to Rufus, who has provided a suitably-topical Saturday crossword. As an aside, the Telegraph is emaciated today but, nevertheless, the cover price is still £2.00…

  3. Lovely puzzle, thanks Rufus and BD, does this 1d now constitute a flock in the last couple of weeks and what does the Red Bible have to say about 5d? Wiki has a 6 letter word meaning black. Merry Christmas one and all

    1. I agree, there have probably been more 1ds in crosswords lately (not just the DT) than there are in the wild

          1. 22d Suitable tree for Snow White’s companions? (6)
            Chambers: A dwarf tree growing in a pot, produced by special methods of cultivation (I’m in a benevolent mood today!)

              1. Santa Dave today collywobs :-) I wonder if anyone will get sent to the nayghty corner today, there’s absolutely loads of food and drink there today, Dave missed my delberate faux pas (is that right) last Sat, I cant believe it!! Merry Christmas collywobs

                1. Merry Christmas Mary. I’m waiting now for Mrs Collywobs to give the go ahead to tuck into the foie gras and canapes, which is a bit of tradition in France. I’m struggling with the SE corner. Can you help with 18d

                  1. its an anagram of mince pies without the ‘m’ collywobs you then get a word meaning ‘shattered’

                    1. sorry right 18d you are looking for a word for an associate, a word for party as in which party do you belong to followed by a four letter word for enjoyment, as in getting a —- out of something gives you this

                    1. Now come on you two. As Kennith Williams used to say – ‘stop messing me about’. My SE corner is a mess and I’m trying to pick my way out of it without getting into the naughty corner.

                  1. Sorry Mary, your answer seemed to be out of turn and I missed it. Got it now and finished the corner. Many thanks to you and BD (I hope he’s still in a good mood) and a merry Christmas to you all

    1. Hi Brian, take the ‘c’ from cards put together with ‘she’d’ with a three letter word that sounds like Christmas at the end, this gives you a word for List

  4. Lovely crossword–just right for a busy day.

    Five pages of puzzles in the w/end bit will also keep me occupied.

    Thanks, Rufus and BD.

    Happy Christmas everyone

    1. 21d – lumberjack calls what the tree will become. 31a think of *** ***. 26d cards make this when gaming

    2. 21d – What do you shout when a tree comes down.
      30a – Drawer is something that pulls things.
      26d – What measurement is 4 inches high and could represent what you hold in a game of cards?

  5. After a very slow start, this proved to be an excellent and enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to the setter and BD for hints. Seasons Greetings to all.

  6. My Christmas wish has arrived on the back page of the paper (I always comment to Gnomey that he seems to get the themed puzzles to review). Thanks to Rufus for a very enjoyable Christmas Eve puzzle. Happy Christmas to him and anyone else who didn’t read my similar greetings yesterday.

    I can highly recommend the themed NTSPP. Our traditional Christmas Eve Seafood Tea has been moved to lunchtime as Son No 1 has to work this evening so I must get back to the lobster. Had a lovely phone chat with Son No 2 in Surfers Paradise earlier on, so the day is going well.

  7. Didn’t like 18 down, far too contrived, but amusing when you get it.
    Stuck on 25a and 28a at the moment, but surprisingly simple when you get the theme. I think I have 10a as long as this forms two words 6/2? Otherwise it is wrong and my ne corner is a snafu.
    Have a cool Yule

    1. Just got 28. Thought it had something to do with a stubborn animal, but soon dispelled that thought with the diddy tree.

      1. Hi dave Have been a sneaky viewer for a while as this helps confirm to my family that I am quite bright and can do crosswords, when in fact they are often beyond me. Is it true to say that the saturday xword is easier?
        In truth the more you do the better you get rather thn flinging the pen at the wall in frustration.

    2. 25a Fairy required — some experience necessary (4)
      This fairy is hidden inside one of the words in the clue

      10a Small boy rejected gift — it’s outrageous (8)
      Reverse a shortened version of a boy’s name and add a word meaning a gift or award to get an adjective meaning outrageous

  8. Thanks and Merry Christmas Rufus, I thought this quite a tough one today and needed my ‘little helpers’ a lot, also help from Dave and others, thank you all, once again Merry Christmas everybody, hoping you all have a very happy holiday :-)

  9. How long is reasonable before asking for help? I have been referencing BD for some time and now have an ipad copy of the crossword I use it even more because I have both at my fingertips at the same time. Thank you

  10. I thought this one had a Rufus feel to it! Thanks for the puzzle, that had me scratching my head on more than one occasion; best wishes to you, and the same to BD.

    1. Hi Trekman, you are looking for ‘gradually’ and its as the clue says how did people travel years ago, you sometimes see this mode of transport on Christmas cards with horses pulling them

    2. 28a Gradually, as folk used to travel according to many Christmas cards (2,6)
      While reading the clue think of the modes of travel that feature on many Chrismas cards – forget the sledges, and concentrate on the rather ornate ones. The two-letter word is a preposition which is followed by a shortened form of those old passenger carrying vehicles.

    1. Please don’t mention sprouts, swede or carrots! Mrs S put me on veg prep for tomorrow’s feast so I’ve only just got round to doing the crossword. Many thanks to Rufus & to BD for the hints (which I had no recourse to) & now I’m off to tackle the NTSPP. Does anyone know if there will be a Virgilius tomorrow?

      I hope everyone has a good day tomorrow & that the crazy fat man brings you all you deserve…

      1. No Virgilius tomorrow, but a special online only Elgar double toughie (or probably double double tough tough Toughie :D )

  11. Trekman, think of the vehicle people used to travel in before cars were invented, especially if they were going on a long journey. I hope this won’t put me in the naughty corner, although all that food and drink sounds scrumptious!

    I enjoyed this puzzle very much and needed very little help to complete it. My favourite clue was 7d and last in, surprisingly, was 15d. So many thanks to Rufus for the fun and to BD for all his good work.

    And a very Merry Christmas to all! :-)

    1. The phrase “Drop off” meaning to go to sleep originates from riding on the outside of 28a and was a regular occurrence on their interminable journeys!

    1. Reverse the first three letters for a small boys name and the last five letters are a word meaning gift.

  12. Been a lurker rather than a contributor this past year, but just wanted to say that this blog has kept me going when times got tough. So thanks to BD, all the setters (both Telegraph and NTSPP), bloggers, contributors – and anyone I may have forgotten! Best wishes for Christmas and here’s to a New Year filled with health, happiness, peace and a touch of magic.

  13. Off now to make trifles, feed the hungry and practice flute tooting for tonight, see you all Boxing Day :-)

  14. Loved this as it had more than it’s normal share of “Doh” moments and was taxing without being downright difficult. Happy Christmas to all of you, thanks to BD for the site the setters for the crosswords and all of you for being you. xx

  15. Thanks to the setter & Big Dave for the hints. A nice puzzle, with some tricky clues. I needed 2 hints but stuck on 8d & 29a, any hints please, but don’t get stuck in Naughty Corner for the Holiday :-) Favourites were 18&22d. Thanks to Big Dave for running the site so well, I think I’ve improved a bit since I started visiting. Merry Christmas all.

    1. Heno,

      8d – With respect, Ebenezer Scrooge initially has to pay up (6)

      I don’t fully understand this one either. I think the solution is a definition of “respect” (so why “With respect…”?)

      Presumably the wordplay is the initials the Dickens’ Miser, followed by a word (reversed) meaning “to pay up” – ones bill etc.

      Just guessing really!

      1. If you read the definition of the answer in Chambers,all may become clear with regard to the ‘with respect’.

  16. Haven’t been on the site for ages and haven’t read all today’s comments but thought I would wish everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR. Many thanks to everyone for all the help and assistance during the year – it makes for double enjoyment.


  17. I’ve found this quite a tough week, but with a good dose of Mary’s persevation, and some help from Señor Nora, I’ve not done too badly.

    All that remains to say is Feliz Navidad a todos, or Bon Nadal a tots, depending on whether you prefer Christmas greetings in Castellano or Valenciano. Pommers will understand! We immigrants have two languages to tangle with here.

    Off to do the Giant GK now – it’s the perfect thing for Christmas Eve.

  18. Lovely start to Christmas many thanks to BD and Rufus, a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year to all. :D

  19. Here’s hoping that we all have a Wonderful Christmas and Terrific 2012. And that Father David sends me a little present tomorrow !! Thanks to him and Uncle Rufus.

  20. Good evening one and all! Late post here due to having had a busy day. I thought today’s challenge was rather tough in parts – probably too much wine last night!? Last in was 16d (DOH!) my favourite being 4a which was a nice construct. 1d features quite a lot.

    Can I wish you all a very Merry Christmas – solvers, reviewers and setters. Enjoy. Family time for me, nice food and wine and doing not a lot.

  21. Happy Christmas all…and I enjoyed today’s puzzle. No really favourite clues but took some time to think through the likes of 9a, 22d and 27d.

  22. Thank you BD and Rufus for enjoyable topical crossword and hints which l think l will always need. I finally finished this about 11.30 last night. 1d was a new species to me this year and it keeps popping up now that l know it. :)

    Merry Christmas everybody

  23. A Cracker of a puzzle – many thanks and Merry Christmas Rufus.
    I’d like to wish all of you the best Seasons Greetings and to thank BD for the continued excellence that is this site.

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