DT 26748 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26748

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26748

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

This is quite easy once you have cracked the four long answers around the perimeter.

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    Verbal infelicity represented in time with huge note? (4,2,3,6)
{SLIP OF THE TONGUE} – the first two words of this verbal infelicity could be taken as an instruction to create an anagram that results in T(ime) with HUGE NOTE – doesn’t quite do it for me, what do you think?

9a    Play featuring in old books and magazine (7)
{OTHELLO} – this Shakespeare play is a charade of a collection of books in the bible and a magazine that caters for the idle worship of self-styled celebrities

10a    Put in position a note after this month (7)
{INSTATE} – this verb meaning to put in position is created by putting A and a musical note after the abbreviation for current month that is used in formal correspondence – it’s also worth remembering ult(imo) for previous month and prox(imo) for next month

11a    Neighbour when retired becoming music maker (4)
{TUBA} – reverse a word meaning to neighbour or border to get a musical instrument

12a    Dramatist engaged in fib senselessly (5)
{IBSEN} – this Norwegian dramatist is hidden inside (engaged in) the last two words of the clue

13a    Small element close to lunacy (4)
{TINY} – this adjective meaning small is a charade of a metallic element and the final letter of (close to) lunacY

16a    Wild rush in river? A little bit (3,4)
{RAT RACE} – this wild rush, gloriously defined by Chambers as “the scramble to get on in the world by fair means or foul”, is a charade of R(iver), A from the clue and a little bit

17a    Destroy gold in ramshackle depot (7)
{TORPEDO} – this verb meaning to destroy or wreck is derived from an anagram (ramshackle) of DEPOT around the heraldic term for gold

18a    Fool’s stolen image (3,4)
{MUG SHOT} – a charade of a fool, the S from ‘s in the clue and an slang adjective meaning stolen gives an image, usually one taken of a criminal

21a    Lab gear deployed in calculating method (7)
{ALGEBRA} – an anagram (deployed) of LAB GEAR gives a branch of mathematics trivially defined as a calculating method

23a    Mention of atmosphere created by eldest son? (4)
{HEIR} – a word that sounds like (mention of) atmosphere is a description of the eldest son

24a    Military squad getting year for togetherness (5)
{UNITY} – combine a military squad with Y(ear) to get togetherness

25a    Nudge teacher’s bottom in school (4)
{PROD} – to get this nudge put the final letter (bottom) of teacheR inside a school of whales

28a    Pet belonging to the woman bordering street after a mile (7)
{HAMSTER} – this pet rodent is created by putting the female possessive pronoun (woman) around (bordering) ST(reet) after A M(ile)

29a    Short car ride by a church for green food (7)
{SPINACH} – a charade of a short car ride, A from the clue and CH(urch) gives a green food favoured by Popeye

30a    One formally engaged in a diet? (15)
{PARLIAMENTARIAN} – the use of this meaning of diet as a legislature, as in that schoolboy favourite the Diet of Worms, came up in Tuesday’s Toughie “Worker touring a lot of island for record of diet (7)” – the answer is someone formally engaged in such a legislature


1d    Speak hastily in modelling session created by fashionistas? (5,4,3,3)
{SHOOT FROM THE HIP} – this phrase meaning to speak in haste might be interpreted as a modelling session created by fashionistas or trendsetters

2d    Check favoured greeting with young woman (7)
{INHIBIT} – this verb meaning to check or suppress is a charade of a two-letter word meaning favoured, a short greeting and a politically incorrect noun for an attractive young woman

3d    Just regular characters in town play (4)
{ONLY} – this adverb meaning just or merely comes from the even letters (regular characters) of the last two words in the clue

4d    Ultimately, discredit currency giving bother (7)
{TROUBLE} – start with the final letter (ultimately) of discrediT and add the Russian currency to get some bother

5d    Clear primitive energy needed in athletics activity (7)
{EVIDENT} – an adjective meaning clear or obvious is derived by putting primitive energy inside a general word for an athletics activity – Chambers defines the primitive energy used in the clue as “In psychoanalytic theory, one of the three parts of the personality, being the unconscious mass of primitive energies from which come instincts for the gratification of basic desires for food, sex, etc., and for the avoidance of pain, modified by the ego and the superego”, so now you know!

6d    River insect getting clear of lake (4)
{LOUSE} – to get this river (there are several of the same name) drop (getting clear of) the initial L(ake) from an insect

7d    Stone jar taken around province (7)
{GRANITE} – this stone is created by putting a verb meaning to jar around a province of the UK

8d    The navy renowned at sea on occasions (5,3,3,4)
{EVERY NOW AND THEN} – an anagram (at sea) of THE NAVY RENOWNED gives a phrase meaning on occasions

14d    Number consuming a Chinese and Mexican food (5)
{NACHO} – put the abbreviation of number around A from the clue and CH(inese) to get this small piece of Mexican tortilla, typically topped with melted cheese and spices

15d    Medic, say, beginning to sift remains of drink (5)
{DREGS} – combine abbreviations of a medic and the Latin for say or for example with the initial letter of (beginning to) Sift to get the remains of a drink

19d    Faint sign given by Frenchman among fruit in Greece (7)
{GLIMMER} – this faint sign is created by putting the abbreviation of for a French man inside a citrus fruit and then the whole lot inside the IVR code for Greece

20d    Fit worker getting drink after end of shift (7)
{TANTRUM} – a fit of temper is derived by putting a charade of a worker insect and an alcoholic drink after the final letter (end) of shifT

21d    Mechanic with skill I found in front of hospital (7)
{ARTISAN} – this mechanic or skilled manual worker is a charade of skill, I from the clue and a shortened form of a convalescent hospital

22d    Unusually brainy industrialist’s heading for exotic food (7)
{BIRYANI} – an anagram (unusually) of BRAINY followed by the initial letter of (heading for) Industrialist gives this exotic food from India

26d    Domestic case leads to eminent therapist undertaking intervention (4)
{ÉTUI} – a small case for holding sewing articles comes from the initial letters of (leads to) the last four words of the clue

27d    Couch restricted for singer (4)
{DIVA} – drop the final letter (restricted) from a couch to get a great female singer, especially an operatic prima donna – a word often inappropriately applied to other talentless female singers

If you’ve been keeping up with Mynot’s progression through the alphabet, there’s another instalment in today’s Toughie.

The Quick crossword pun: {pewter} + {tiff} = {putative}

49 comments on “DT 26748

  1. Well quite enjoyed today’s puzzle, 9a & 18a I thought were particularly clever. Didn’t (& still don’t really) understand first part of 1a & am still struggling to know why 30 is what it is, but that must be my limited knowledge of such things. Anyhow, thanks to the setter for a mostly very enjoyable puzzle, and of course to BD.

  2. Just what Brian was hoping for today! (One note I made for myself was to see how ‘slip of’ is arrived at in 1a). Luckily I remembered ‘diet’ for 30a. Quite liked 18a, last one in 16a.Thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. I took it as being a reverse anagram – an anagram (slip) of THE TONGUE gives T(ime) HUGE NOTE.

      I’m not saying I like it – it is notoriously difficult to construct a satisfactory reverse anagram.

    2. Glad you think so, I think it’s more difficult than the last two put together! Managed just one answer today, can’t see any of the big phrases. Def not my week so far.

      1. Sorry to speak out of turn Brian .. I just meant that we had something on a Thurs which is (I thought) a lot more ‘do-able’ than Ray T at his trickiest.

  3. The last in for me was 1a, in what was otherwise a very straightforward puzzle today.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD for the review.

    I don’t know if I will have time for today’s Toughie – I will wait to see the recommendations from others!

        1. BD – you have no idea how often I have to explain the difference between the UK and GB to Americans over here. They also use England sometimes when they really mean GB.

          1. You should worry – I have had to explain it several times to crossword setters over here, several of whom think the two are synonymous!

            1. Goodness, they should look at the front of their passports. There are Americans over here who think Canada is part of the United States so I guess confusion about one’s country is universal.

  4. I agree that it was a matter of cracking the 4 peripheral clues though I didn’t find that task especially easy! Accordingly I would have rated it as 3* difficulty after being held up for a while in the NE corner.

  5. A very strraightforward Thursday puzzle, no particular favourite clues. Thanks to the Mystery Setter and BD.

    The Toughie won’t take anyone very long today, particularly since the obvious theme means that you know at least one letter in every solution.

  6. Morning Dave, I didn’t find, the long clues around the edge that easy and 30a was one of the last to go in along with 1d, no real favourite today although most of the clues read really nicely IMHO, thanks for hints, tho didn’t need them today :-)

  7. I expected a RayT today so very disappointed as this did not come up to standard. Nothing very exciting really and no stand-out clues. On to the Toughie.

  8. Did manage to finish it without hints but definitely needed BD to explain 1a (no it didn’t work for me either!) and 30a – big gap in my knowledge there, didn’t know diet could mean that, must file that one away in crossword memory drawer. Glad you commented on the politically incorrect noun in 2d, BD – I’m not particularly feminist or sexist but I actually found that slightly offensive! There must surely have been a more tasteful way of cluing it? Anyone out there agree with me, or am I just feeling grouchy with the post-Christmas cold??

  9. Thanks BD, I completed it in a good (personal) time but still needed your explanation of 1A. Your rating is spot on!

    By the by, do you know how the DT “top time” values are achieved? Today they are 98 seconds and 109 seconds, for the Quick and Cryptic respectively. I can’t type that fast!

    1. When “CluedUp” first started there was a spate of silly errors in the puzzles – cue “puzzle_tester”, an inhouse logon which checked every puzzle every day (presumably with a list of answers close at hand!). After a while said puzzle_tester’s name was hidden from view, but there seems to be no facility to hide his/her times to key in the answers, thus rendering the “Top Time” statistic as totally useless – a bit like the stats for the “Puzzle Leaderboard”. My advice is to ignore all of the stats associated with the site. The difficulty rating seems to be based on “solving times” and is made meaningless by those who do the puzzle in the newspaper and then key it in to check their answers. The only statistic that should mean anything to you is your own personal solving time, and that is best kept to yourself.

      1. I have always disliked the statistics on the leaderboard. My only requirements are that the puzzle challenges me and gives me enjoyment. How long it takes or how many points I score detracts from the pleasure so I ignore them. There are always some people who are going to do them in half the time it takes me and it doesn’t matter.

  10. Fairly gentle but a bit of fun I thought so thanks to the setter.
    Thanks also to BD for the blog and for confirming my parsing of 1a!
    Favourites 1d and 18a.

  11. Dave, hello. I have just found this site – thanks. Can you please tell me what do you mean by “charade”? As in: “this Shakespeare play is a charade of a collection…” Thank you very much, Lizzy

  12. Thanks to the for the puzzle and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I enjoyed this, but found it quite tricky because I couldn’t get the long outside ones at first. Last in was 30a. Had never heard of that meaning of diet, still, live & learn. Favourites were 16& 18a.

  13. I agree with BD that once the four long clues around the outside are solved this is fairly straightforward – unfortunately, apart from 8d, they all took me a VERY long time consequently the whole thing took me a very long time! Who cares – it’s not a race!! I needed the hints to explain 1a – tried almost everything and just couldn’t work it out at all – at least I now know what a “reverse anagram” is. I liked 16 and 18a and 19d. With thanks to the setter and BD.
    I don’t care that it’s not a Ray T Thursday – didn’t have time to do his last week so hid it from my French sister-in-law to do when I DID have the time – all I need to do now is find it ….

  14. Thanks to the compiler and host for the hints. 17a’s heraldic rather than chemical gold threw me but I’ll know next time. I’d never come across 26d and I thought diet was a bit of a stretch for legislature. But, it all adds to the learning!

    1. 26 down is a crossword favourite – try and find another word that fits ?T?I in the grid and there are only a handful that fit E?U? (when you’ve paid two ecus for two emus you’ve seen them all!).

  15. Enjoyed solving this one although I am not keen on puzzles with 15-letter frames!
    Faves : 9a, 16a, 18a, 25a, 29a, 2d, 4d, 7d, 14d, 19d & 22d.

    21a & 21d are old goldies!

    Got my supply of rockets and long sparklers – plus a huge BOMB – for St. Sylvester.

  16. Haven’t quite finished it yet (almost) but I reckon the DT has got the Toughie and the backpage mixed up today. Seems to me the a toughie is far easier than those awful four edge clues.

  17. Favourite of the week so far and marginally easier than yesterday’s, I thought. Was pleased with 30a – it provoked memories of a trip I made to Japan about 15 years ago. Last in was 7d. 20d was quite nice. Thanks for the review.

  18. Very enjoyable stuff – I was slightly thrown off by 2d and 11a, mainly as I didn’t expect to see ‘bit’ used in that sense, but I went with it anyway – glad to see that I thinking on the right lines. The 5d hint was appreciated too.
    Very rewarding also that 30a lept out immediately as this also came up on the Tuesday puzzle.
    Fave clue was 1d – big laughs here as the penny dropped :)

  19. Well I found it hard today, so there! I’d never have got 30a in a million years and couldn’t get 5d either. Primitive energy? There were also several I filled in but didn’t understand without the hints. I didn’t know anyone used the word “bit” any more to mean a young woman. At a boys’ school we did but that was a long time ago!

    Many thanks for the review!

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