DT 26753 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26753

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26753

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola and a Happy New Year to one and all.  This is a good start to 2012 from the Wednesday Wizard with the usual mix of clue types and smooth surfaces. I thought for a while we were going to be in 1* territory but I stalled a bit on the last 3 or 4!

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           What a snooker coach does for a transport enthusiast (12)
{TRAINSPOTTER} – This is a transport enthusiast, often referred to as an ‘anorak’. Split the answer (6,6) and you get a phrase describing what a snooker coach might do.  First in but I’m sure we’ve had something very similar before but I think last time it might have been the film.

9a           People pushing for diamonds and flowers? (7)
{DRIVERS} – People who are pushing are made up from D(iamonds) followed by some flowers, not vegetation but the other crosswordland flowers.

10a         Animal droppings one shifts from cell (7)
{DUNGEON} –Some animal droppings followed by an anagram (shifts) of ONE gives a cell or prison usually found underground.

11a         Discard players out of form (4,3)
{CAST OFF} –Double definition. This phrase, meaning to discard, could also describe some actors (players) who are out of form.

12a         Raise a source of tension in most of team (7)
{ELEVATE} – Place A (from the clue) and T (source of Tension) inside a word used for a cricket or football team, without its last letter (most of), and you get a word meaning to raise.

13a         Found in homeopathy, meadow herb (5)
{THYME} – A herb is found hidden (in) in homeopathy meadow. I seem to remember blogging something very similar once before!

14a         Rattles punk getting undressed in front of wooden benches (9)
{UNSETTLES} – Definition is rattles in the sense of makes nervous. Take UN (p(UN)k undressed) and follow with some wooden benches, often with a high back and arms, with storage space underneath for linen

16a         Bent receiver has nothing to make a home (9)
{DISHONEST} – A charade of a satellite receiver, O (nothing) and a bird’s home gives a word meaning bent, as in not truthful.  I spent quite a while trying to do something with FENCE for the ‘bent receiver’ with HOME as the definition, which I reckon was Jay’s intention!

19a         Drink firms with a following (5)
{COCOA} –Two firms followed by A (from the clue) gives a hot drink often taken at bedtime.

21a         Bulletins showing leading appointments (7)
{UPDATES} – These bulletins, of the latest news perhaps, are made from a word meaning leading and some appointments, with your girlfriend maybe.

23a         Big cat, lion, with a bit of rot in foot (7)
{LEOPARD} –This big cat is the astrological lion followed R (bit of Rot) inserted into a foot, of the big cat perhaps.

24a         Leak from diocesan attendant? (7)
{SEEPAGE} – A leek which, if split (3,4) would be a phrase which might describe a young male attendant in a diocese. This was my last in, with a big D’oh!

25a         Popular and hard unionist chap getting brutal (7)
{INHUMAN} – Definition is brutal. Take the usual word for popular (2) followed by H(ard), U(nionist) and a chap (3).

26a         Representative stabs character after end of speeches (12)
{SPOKESPERSON} –This is a sort of representative who speaks on behalf of another. After S (after end of speecheS) place a word for stabs or prods and then another word for a character or individual.  This was another one of those where the penny took a while to drop!


1d           Try this concoction if needing water (7)
{THIRSTY} – An adjective describing someone who is in need of water is an anagram (concoction) of TRY THIS.

2d           Insane! Money supplying growth (7)
{ANEMONE} – This flower or growth is hidden in Insane money, ignore the exclamation mark!

3d           Felt no use after changing instrument (4-5)
{NOSE FLUTE} –A slightly obscure musical instrument, which I wouldn’t advise playing if you had a streaming cold, is an anagram (after changing) of FELT NO USE.

4d           Chaplain’s apartment on the outskirts of Rome (5)
{PADRE} –This is a military chaplain. Take an informal word for your apartment and follow with RE (outskirts of RomE).

5d           Touching line from bronze chap (7)
{TANGENT} – A line which touches a circle if split (3,4) would be a word for bronze or brown and a chap, but not the same chap as the one in 25a. The first word could also mean to bronze in the sun.   Nothing to do with the answer but here’s a bronze chap for the ladies!

6d           Stare at something in orbit? (7)
{EYEBALL} –An informal word for stare or look at is also something found  in the orbit in your head. One of my last in and a favourite because of the very smooth surface reading.

7d           Learned judge is shot! (8,5)
{EDUCATED GUESS} –First word is a synonym for learned. The second is a word meaning judge, as in estimate. The whole thing is a phrase meaning a shot, as in an estimate based on a little information. Not easy to hint without using the second word of the answer!

8d           Informal agreement in accordance with status (13)
{UNDERSTANDING} – This informal agreement is a word which can mean in accordance with (5) followed by a word for your status in society (8).

15d         Latest lie broadcast from the moon, say (9)
{SATELLITE} – Moon,say is a definition by example. It’s an anagram (broadcast) of LATEST LIE.

17d         Left in team with excited approach (5,2)
{SIDLE UP} – Take a word for a team, not the one in 12a, and insert L(eft). Follow with a word which can mean excited and you get a phrase meaning to approach furtively.  Not 100% sure I like ‘excited’ for the second word but I guess it must be OK by Chambers (didn’t get one for Christmas on the grounds that it was too big and heavy to bring back from the UK without me spotting it!).

18d         What an officer might do to soldier is in the open and offensive (7)
{OUTRANK} – What an officer certainly does to an enlisted man is a charade of a word for in the open and a word meaning offensive or putrid.

19d         Charlie hates being without a number of things to wear (7)
{CLOTHES} – C(harlie) followed by a word for hates with the A removed (without A) gives some things you wear.

20d         He may supply fuel for love in smooth article (7)
{COALMAN} –This is a guy who delivers fuel. Take a word for smooth or unruffled, insert O (love in), and follow with an indefinite article.

22d         Appears to need time for European checks (5)
{STEMS} – A substitution clue. To get a word for checks or stops you need to think of a word for appears or looks like and replace an E with a T (Time for European).

I like all the ones in blue but favourites are 24a and 6d.

The Quick crossword pun: {awesome} + {wells} = {Orson Welles}

73 comments on “DT 26753

  1. A nice, gentle puzzle today; my only hold up was getting my T’s and L’s confused in 15d, and then trying to find a big cat for 23a that started with an E!
    Thanks to Jay, and to Pommers.

    Back to Notabilis in the Toughie, who I am not finding quite so gentle!

    1. Morning Jezza
      I wasn’t going to admit it but I did exactly the same as you with 15d! We don’t really have an excuse as there are only two T’s and two L’s in the anagram fodder, D’oh!

        1. Same here! I didn’t actually check the anagram. I was just looking at the fodder and twigged the answer and typed it in wrong! Didn’t help that the mis-spelling still fitted with the 3 checkers I already had!

      1. Thanks to the Wednesday Wizard & to Pommers for a gentle start to the calm before the storm if the forecasts are correct. Also thanks for the image at 13a – still one of the sexiest looking women IMO.

        On another note & in reference to a comment you made earlier in the week – I managed to obtain a copy of the Deeper Meaning of Life last year & duntish is still in there along with my own personal favourite of a throckmorton, the soul of a madman who haunts the timing mechanisms of pop up toasters!

        1. Another one I like is:-

          KETTERING (n.) The marks left on your bottom or thighs after sunbathing on a wickerwork chair.

          Get a lot of ketterings around here in the summer from sitting on wicker chairs in bars while wearing shorts!

          1. That reminds me of the very learned university professor on holiday and trying to make conversation to the numbskull sunbathing next to him:-

            “Have you read Marx”?
            “Yes, but I think they’re just from the chair I’ve been sitting on”!!

        2. My own two personal fabourites are:

          GOOSNARGH (n.)
          Something left over from preparing or eating a meal, which you store in the fridge despite the fact that you know full well you will never ever use it.

          HIGH OFFLEY (n.)
          Goosnargh (q.v.) three weeks later.

          High Offley was a little village just down the road from us when we lived in the UK and I always smiled whenever we drove past!

          1. Does Pommers ever have trouble with his LUBCROY? This is the little lump in the top of your trunks which means you are going to spend ½ hour with a safety pin trying to retrieve the drawstring.

              1. That’s what I love about this blog – a book I just had to have, I thought. Amazon only had expensive second-hand copies (EUR 53.90), but I managed to find one for 5.95 from a German dealer. Many thanks!

              2. When you were getting solent I nursed a stody as my mother got slightly richmond while trying to ignore the boothby graffoe…

  2. Morning all, and a Happy New Year. Very straightforward fare today I thought. For 17d, I initially entered “slide up”, as in the slightly derogatory term, “when did you slide up?” However, 21a quickly put me right. Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  3. Flowed quite well this morning until encountering the SW corner. Got there in the end with the last entries being 18d and 22d.
    Spelling is usually a strong point of mine but as with other commentators this morning I was entranced ( a word which goes well with spelling!! ) by 15d and had to make appropriate adjustments.

  4. I enjoyed this one a lot. My favourite was 16a which I thought was brilliant for the deception. Many other good clues including 1a 1d 3 10 and 14. However, 24 is an old chestnut. Thanks to setter for a great puzzle.

  5. No big problems today, just a nice easy solve for the New Year. I thought 23A and 7 D were particularly clever clues today.

    Do decorations come down today or tomorrow ?

    1. Pommette seems to think they should be down by midnight tomorrow but most people I think take then down on Jan 6.

    2. Our outside lights came down on Monday which was a wise decision given the warnings of gales & heavy rain from the met office which are expected tomorrow.

    3. It’s normally after twelfth night skempie, which is the 6th I think, I always take them down on the 7th as the 6th is the feast of the Epiphany and the three wise men didn’t arrive until then, so I let them get one night at the crib before they go away for another year :-)

        1. In my local City Church, the crib remains until we celebrate the Presentation of Christ in the Temple on 2 February (the feast is also referred to as Candlemas).

          1. I’ve heard of Candlemas obviously Prolixic but never know the crib to be around until then anywhere, thanks for that

  6. Hola pommers and everyone else a happy new year to you all, I spent the New Year break in a lovely hotel coughing and spluttering over all the other guests, so apart from walks on the front I confined myself mostly to my room and have returned home with said lurgie in tow!!! feeling really sorry for myself :-( anyway managed this without the hints today, though I didn’t find it all that easy and got held up by one or two, fav clues 1a and 4d, I just like them, they made me smile :-)

    1. Get well soon Mary! Pommette too has been a bit ropey since Boxing Day but, hey ho, it’s Winter!

    2. Been like it myself since Boxing Day, Mary, so have every sympathy! Can’t even travel to the next room without needing a tissue. Cheer up – it WILL get better – at least, that is what I keep telling myself!

    3. Thanks for the good wishes everyone, I think it has been passed on by other half who recovered with the help of excellent nursing and looking after by yours truly who now has to see to herself whilst he goes merrily on his way!!!! get well soon all you fellow sufferers spring is on the way :-D

  7. Thanks to Jay for the very nice start to the first day back at work for two weeks :( Thanks to Pommers for the very nicely illustrated :) review too.

    The Toughie definitely lives up to its name today. I have one left to get after what seems like hours and hours of on and off looking.

    1. After my appalling Toughie performance yesterday i thought that it was going to be just me again today, seems i’m not alone!

      1. Yesterdays took me longer than BD’s rating too. I blame the weather, or post Christmas whatnot, or something.

  8. I thought this one was fairly straightforward apart from the blasted cat in 23a – complete mental block – just couldn’t see it and it’s really not that difficult! Oh dear!! 22d took a while too – I always miss the substituting something for something else type clues. I’ve never heard of the 3d instrument but it was obviously what it was – don’t care for the mental picture of someone with a bad cold playing it! It’s about as bad as feeding mashed banana to a toddler with a cold – you’re never quite sure what you’re scooping up off the chin and shovelling back in to the mouth! I liked 10, 16 and 26a and 1, 6, 7 and 19d. With thanks to Jay and Pommers (especially the picture for 5d!)

    1. That bit about the toddler is a worse image than blowing snot into the instrument! YUK!!!!!! Thanks Kath, it nearly put me off my dinner – but only nearly!

  9. I’m determined to learn to recognise the setters. I’ve got the hang of Ray T (one word answers plus a queen), but what identifies this as a Jay offering?

    1. Apart from Ray T I don’t think that I could ever identify a setter from the crossword. Fairly soon after I found this blog I asked how anyone knows who set it and BD replied with a list.

      Mondays – Rufus
      Tuesdays – Shamus and others
      Wednesdays – Jay
      Thursdays – Ray T and others
      Fridays – Giovanni
      Saturdays – Cephas
      Sundays – Virgilius

      1. Been a couple of changes since then I think.

        Cephas did every Saturday for about 20 years but is now doing alternate weeks with a mysteron. Not sure about Shamus nowadays. He usually lets us know when it’s him and I haven’t seen him posting for a while.

        1. Hi Pommers

          I’m still around but have become a movable feast (or whatever other description you might like to use!) between Tuesdays and Thursdays. HNY to you and all contributors.

          1. Does that explain the occasional pangram we’ve had? Nice to hear from you and a Happy New Year to you.

    2. There’s a substitution clue in about 3 out of 4 Jay puzzles, like 22d in this one. It’s a device not often seen on the back page as far as I can tell.

      Also I met Jay at the do in Derby and he said he’s been doing every Wednesday for a couple of years and as far as he knows there are no plans to change.

  10. Well it is nice that the Festive season is abating and I can get back to devoting time to the crossword. This was a gentle start to the day for me and It”s not often I can say that but I think a 1* would be about right. Very enjoyable.

  11. Flowers eh! Thats another one to learn. It must have been a long time since it was used because I can’t remember it from previous crosswords.

  12. Been out for a couple of hours to get the blood pressure checked at the doctor’s. Apparantly I’m not about to explode but more exercise is strongly recommended – she must know I spend most of my time just sitting around and doing crosswords!

    Looks like I’ll have to start walking to the bar at the far end of the village instead of the one nearest the house! Oh well, when needs must!

    1. My 92-year young dad’s favorite saying is “When you retire the armchair is your enemy.” He sure is proof of that since he is always busy and moving.

      1. Yeah, I know! I’ll have to get the bike out a bit more – I do know an excellent bar that’s about 5 km from here and no hills in between!

  13. Very jolly! I particularly enjoyed those punnier clues like 1a and 5d. Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

  14. Really enjoyed this one – does that mean I’m on Ray T’s wavelength?? Last in was 23a because, by then, it couldn’t be anything else but didn’t understand the last 4 letters til I actually wrote them in when the penny dropped with a loud bong! Also needed explanation for 22d – those substitute ones always elude me – thank you Pommers.

      1. Hope that it’s him tomorrow – it wasn’t last Thursday so I suppose there’s a pretty good chance.

      2. Oh dear, losing my marbles now on top of everything else – could have sworn it was Thursday to-day!!

  15. Usually find I’m not on Jay’s wavelength but I really enjoyed this to-day and managed most of it in fairly quick time but got bogged on the second part of 7d–just couldn’t see it until I saw Pommers’ hint. Also didn’t see the substituton! Thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  16. Happy New Year, everyone! Hopefully I will actually have the time to comment occasionally, now – end of last year was just mad busy! Enjoyed today’s offering and sailed through most of it, but I completely missed 2d (that pesky exclamation mark!) and also didn’t pick up on the substitution in 22d – and I’d been getting better at spotting those. Grrrrrr! So thanks for the hints, Pommers, and the customary chuckles :-) and thanks Jay.

  17. Took me a long time to finish this one, got off to a flyer then got well stuck. Didn’t help that I couldn’t spell satellite! Found the top right tough ESP as I have never heard of a bench called a settle before, so learnt something new today. Thx to Pommers for the hints esp 24a (had no idea about diocesan officer) and 5d(very clever).

  18. I always like a good “surface reading” – so 4d is my Clue of the Day!

    Thanks, Jay!

    Gracias, pommers!!

  19. Happy New Year to all! A nice fun grid- I especially liked 23a and 24a but got a bit stuck with 22d and trying to understand 14a till I looked in Chambers and learnt something new !

  20. After yesterday’s fun I couldn’t finish this, stuck in sw corner. Even with your hint I can’t get 24 (my 17 might be wrong which won’t help) because I can’t see the answers on my Blackberry thing.

    1. 24 We quite often have the three letter word which means a diocese. Follow this with the servant of a King (think Wenceslas and his “Hither ****”.

      17 You should have inserted L into another word used for a sporting team and follow this with a two letter word meaning in an excited state.

      1. Thanks for stepping in Sue – I’ve been out quizzing as usual on Weds evening but did about as bad as we did at the bridge on Monday. I think the crossword brain has survived Christmas but little else!

    2. Hi Grumpy Andrew from a Grumpy pommers (bad night at the quiz!).

      24a – tricky little rascal, and as I said in the blog, my last in. Although it’s described as an old chestnut by UTC at #4, but I don’t remember seeing it before! Can’t really expand my hint more than CS has already done without telling you the answer – and you can get that from the curly brackets if you’ve really given up on it.

  21. Thanks to Jay and Pommers for the hints and review. A good puzzle, some great clues. Favourites were 10 & 26a and 6d. Had trouble with 6a, had daisies before resorting to the hint. Also had seems for 22d, missed the substitution duh!

    1. Evening Heno
      Re substituions, I’ve got to the stage where I always expect one in a Jay puzzle so as soon as I see X ‘for’ Y in a clue I start looking for the substitution possibilities. Leads me down many a blind alley I have to say!
      I’ve no doubt that Jay will read this and start clueing substitutions differently in future – I’ll be on my guard!

  22. I sat down and did this with two of my American colleagues this evening, both crossword lovers, but quite new to the cryptic style.
    Found it tough going, but managed to finish an hour later without needing the hints. Favourite was 1a, last in 2d (how embarrassing for one of the easiest clue types, but we just didn’t spot it lol)
    Thanks to Jay and Pommers for the review – we guessed at the wooden benches one as it seemed to fit! :)

  23. Finished this very early this morning and could not post it due to computer trouble.
    Faves : 1a, 23a, 26a, 3d, 6d & 7d.

    Weather in NL very blustery with a chilly, northern wind.

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