DT 26754 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26754

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26754

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Ray T makes his first appearance of 2012. Although tricky in places, this is solvable with perseverance and, as you can guess, I enjoyed it.

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           Charming young lady broadcasting (8)
{DEBONAIR} – an adjective meaning charming is a charade of a young lady starting out in society and a phrase that means broadcasting

9a           Rest from worries, losing head (6)
{OTHERS} – the rest of a group is created by dropping the initial B from a verb meaning worries

10a         Cook embracing a brawl (4)
{FRAY} – Put a verb meaning to cook in oil around (embracing) A from the clue to get a brawl

11a         Alas, senile, no longer holding back solitude (10)
{LONELINESS} – hidden in reverse (holding back) inside the clue is a word meaning solitude

12a         Heavy overdose by heartless guy on street (6)
{STODGY} – an adjective meaning heavy or stuffy is derived from the abbreviation of overdose and G(U)Y without its middle letter (heartless) preceded by ST(reet)

14a         Almost went out as Government leader spoke (8)
{GUTTERED} – a verb that means, when applied to a candle, almost went out is built up from the initial letter (leader) of Government and a verb meaning spoke

15a         Sabbath preceding rubbish band (6)
{STRIPE} – S(abbath) followed by some rubbish gives a band of colour

17a         Charitable making good in African country (6)
{BENIGN} – an adjective meaning charitable or benevolent is created by putting G(ood) inside a country in West Africa

20a         Lav and toilet endlessly turned explosive (8)
{VOLATILE} – an anagram (turned) of LAV and TOILE(T) without the final T (endlessly) gives an adjective meaning explosive

22a         Slapper clutching ends of grotesque butt (6)
{TARGET} – put a slapper or promiscuous woman around (clutching) the outside letters (ends) of GrotesquE to get the butt or object of ridicule

23a         Fresh air given to perk up (10)
{INVIGORATE} – an anagram (fresh) of AIR GIVEN TO gives a verb meaning to perk up

24a         Stroked soft fabric (4)
{FELT} – a double definition – stroked as a verb and a soft fabric as a noun

25a         Prompt to give understanding to the audience (6)
{INCITE} – a verb meaning to prompt sounds like (to the audience) an understanding or awareness

26a         Extract contains Queen musical study (8)
{EXERCISE} – take a verb meaning to extract and insert Elizabeth Regina to get a musical study


1d           Tire stud out? Rubbish! (8)
{DETRITUS} – an anagram (out) of TIRE STUD gives some rubbish

2d           Prudish about pee specimen (4)
{COPY} – put an adjective meaning prudish around the letter represented phonetically by pee to get a specimen

3d           Brass found on the ancient overturned ship (6)
{GALLEY} – start with a word meaning brass or cheek and add the old-fashioned way of saying “the” reversed (overturned) to get a ship

4d           Game with rake allowed last of bet inside (8)
{ROULETTE} – this gambling game is created by putting a rake or libertine around a word meaning alloed and the final letter of beT

5d           Lighting up? (10)
{CHANDELIER} – a cryptic definition of the kind of lighting that Del Boy , Rodney and Grandad couldn’t handle

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6d           Fish river bottom in case of wave (6)
{WRASSE} – this fish is derived by putting R(iver) and bottom or backside inside the outer letters (cas) of WavE

8d           Welsh for example turned up supporting Frenchman (6)
{RENEGE} – a verb meaning to welsh is created by reversing (turn up in a down clue) the Latin Abbreviation of for example and putting it under (supporting in a down clue) a Frenchman like the café proprietor in ‘Allo ‘Allo

13d         It smarted I fancy, producing irritation (10)
{DERMATITIS} – an anagram (fancy) of IT SMARTED I gives an irritation of the skin

16d         Crooked person accepting required incarceration initially? (8)
{PRISONER} – this all-in-one / &Lit clue requires an anagram (crooked) of PERSON to be placed around (accepting) the initial letters of Required and Incarceration – read the whole clue again to get the definition

18d         Superfluous bait on ship (8)
{NEEDLESS} – to get an adjective meaning superfluous put a verb meaning to bait on the usual Crosswordland ship

19d         English pound up under Iron Lady (6)
{FEMALE} – reverse (up) E(nglish) and a verb meaning to pound and put them after (under in a down clue) the chemical symbol for iron to get a lady

21d         Perhaps having house in town in Guernsey (6)
{OWNING} – a verb meaning having is hidden inside (house(d)) the last three words of the clue

22d         Ancient city, almost second to none (6)
{THEBES} – to get this ancient Greek or ancient Egyptian city (take your pick!) drop the final T (almost) a phrase meaning second to none (3,4)

24d         Reality show supporting fellow (4)
{FACT} – a reality or truth is created from a show preceded by (supporting in a down clue) a F(ellow)

Sorry the blog was a little late today – I have had other distractions like walls, fences and facia boards being rearranged by the wind!

The Quick crossword pun: {hard} + {tug} + {hold} = {heart of gold}

64 comments on “DT 26754

  1. I wrestled with 15a after I found a band called STRASH!,but then 16 down cut in. Very enjoyable today

    1. me too jerseyboy I actually put it in and was left at the end with 16d!! It made sense to me especially after googling it and finding the group! :-)

  2. I must have been on the right wavelength this morning as it was one of my quickest times for a Ray T crossword and based on that would have said one star for difficulty but I guess I may have been lucky as CS found it more tricky. Highly enjoyable as ever.

    Anax as Elkamere is wearing pink fluffy slippers for the Toughie but with some spurs added for the unwary :)

  3. I agree with Prolixic that this was one of the quickest solves for a puzzle by RayT, but as always, very enjoyable.
    Plenty of smiles; my favourite clue – 22a.

    Many thanks to Ray for the fun.

  4. Oh, good—a Ray T puzzle, as I am determined to work at this and enjoy his puzzles!

    Just getting started but have to do paperwork etc as well as getting out into a gloriously bright & sunny day after all the wind and rain.

    Will be back later.

  5. Yep, very quick for me too, but very enjoyable nonetheless. Many clues I liked including 7a, 22a, 4d, 6d, 8d, 22d. Thanks to Ray.

  6. Another enjoyable offering today. Almost took my mind of the 1D lying in the road (from my neighbour’s fence, not mine). I thought 6D was an excellent clue, but eclipsed by 22D which took me ages going through all the ancient cities I could remember, Ur, Troy, Sodom (which was what I thought after the 5th city).

  7. For those solving the Toughie in the newspaper we somehow have the wrong clue at 6d. It appears as a repeat of the 3d clue. It should be:

    Funny show featuring model and short groom (6)

    1. Phew, that makes a lot more sense!! I really thought I had missed something. Thanks Anax / Elkamere

    2. I was so caught up in sorting out the puzzle that I never noticed the repetition but did manage to get the solution..

  8. I also thought that this was quite tricky in places but, as I’m sure everyone will guess, I loved it! A ray (T) of sunshine on an otherwise stormy grey day! :smile:
    My last one in was 19d which took me ages to see. Probably too many great clues to pick out any other than 22a. Oh, and 6, 8, 16 and 22d.
    Off up the garden to hunt the chairs and tables which have been blown all over the place. :sad: On the plus side at least nothing has crashed into our new greenhouse and, somehow, we still seem to have a garage roof!

  9. I am so glad that BD gave this 3* difficulty as I did wonder if it was just me finding Ray slightly trickier than usual, particularly after an email from Prolixic indicated that he found it lovely and easy. Thanks to Ray for a great start to Thursday and to BD for the windswept explanations.

    For me, Elkamere had obviously muddled up his Toughie footwear in the dark as it was mainly pink fluffy slippers but with a tough of stomping boot in places. Give it a go and see what you think.

    1. I was a little anxious when I saw that this was Ray T, as he’s been the setter I’ve struggled with, long and hard. But today I’m happy to say I found challenging, but really enjoyable, and got to the end without hints. There are some delightful clues, 7a, 4d and 18d to name but a few.

      I’m not sure I’m quite as overjoyed as Big Dave when it’s Ray’s turn to stretch our brains, but I’m getting there!

  10. Very quick for me too, but very enjoyable nonetheless Thanks to Ray and to Big Dave. I can’t do the quick crossword today, though!!

        1. Haven’t looked yet – might have a go after very windy afternoon dog walk – assuming that I’m neither blown over nor biffed on the head by falling trees!!

    1. Done it now – what are you stuck on?
      Are we allowed to talk about the quickie here or are we going to be sent to the naughty corner? Given the weather conditions I think the naughty corner just could be preferable to going out!! :sad:

  11. Not a very quick solve today and I agree with the 3* rating as well. Once I got going though. Cold, grey overcast and looking like rain. Another excuse not to go to the local! How about you CS?
    Thanks to BD & Ray T

    1. Sadly Captain I am now back at work and so lunch at my desk, which isn’t the same thing at all :(

    2. I have just retired, so I tend to forget this. Using up holiday before i go next month! Sorry!!

  12. Just like Jerseyboy I put Strash in at 15a! my first thoughts were S + trash and on googling it lo and behold there it was a group (band) called Strash, I wasn’t very impressed with such an obscure answer but we do get them!!! so at the end I was left with 16d, until the penny finally dropped! A three star at least for me, with lots of perservation needed, thanks for hints Dave needed a couple today, Happy New Year to you and Mrs BD hopefully your defences are fully restored now :-)

  13. RayT at his best. So many different types of clue and so many aagh moments. Difficult to find a favourite but 6 11 13 and 20 stood out. Why do we have to wait so long for RayT/Beam puzzles? Now to put the wall that was blown down back up.

  14. I must be getting on RayT’s wavelength at last – ’bout time too IMHO!

    Very enjoyable, as usual, from Ray, but not as tricky as I usually find them!

    In view od BD’s comment on the wind and what I’ve seen on the TV I’m glad I’m not in the UK at the moment! It’s 23C here with no wind and not a cloud in the sky! Good really as it’s the village Kings procession this evening – it rained on last year’s parade!

    Thanks to RayT and BD.

  15. I found this puzzle much the me as everyone else, fun but some challenges. I think there must be some new slang in Engand since I left 40 years ago because I had never heard of slapper. 5d flummoxed me for a while.

      1. You read this is as research for crossword solving and to get some of your pictures right ;)

  16. Needed the blog for 2 or 3 hints to get this finished in sensible time, but with asses, grotesque butts, tarts, slappers, lavs, pee samples (and of course the Queen) all making appearances, it wasn’t hard to spot the compiler!

  17. Thanks to Ray T & Big Dave for the review & hints. I enjoyed this one even though it defeated me. I was 7 short, needed 6 hints to finish, and had to look up 2 of those. Seem to be losing my touch this year. Favourites were 11 20 22 across & 6 19 down.

  18. Just realised why most of this makes little sense to me, it’s a Ray T :-(
    Just cannot get on his wavelength at all, roll on tomorrow.

      1. Finished it—(with a few hints) and not perhaps as tricky as I had expected. Great fun, too.

        Just one query about 10a ‘fray’. I thought a brawl is ‘an affray’?

    1. Thebes was the name given to two cities. The original named city was in Greece and they renamed a city in Egypt the same. Guess its the same as America stealing all our place names (some years ago I was in Florida and was asked where I was from, I replied Bristol and got the reply, Bristol, Tennessee ? )

  19. Excellent entertainment from RayT as usual. Laughed at 22a & 2d! At what age do you stop having a schoolboy sense of humour?

    1. Not long ago pommette suggested I might be having a ‘second childhood’, to which I replied “I’ve not finished my first one yet”!

  20. A great puzzle which I have finished, with just a few hints, and not as difficult as I had feared. Am determined to enjoy ALL the puzzles, and stretch my brain for that’s how one learns and progresses!

    Re 10a— I thought a brawl was ‘an affray’, and have never heard of it being a ‘fray’?

    Thanks to Ray T and for the review.

    1. Sarah, good for you! I enjoy all the puzzles, even Toughies which I can’t complete. I have a great time struggling with the hard stuff and just filling in the easy ones but each one is different. I live in awe of the setters who can produce these fantastic puzzles on a regular basis – long may they continue!

      I think it’s like my Grandad said – “there’s no such thing as bad whisky – just some are more to your taste than others”!

  21. Ray T usually has me banging my head against the wall but I managed to complete this one to-day without hints although it took me some time. I agree with 3*
    and I did enjoy it. Thanks Ray T.

  22. Enjoyed solving this one.
    Faves : 14a, 22a, 26a, 3d, 5d, 6d, 8d & 22d.

    Re 6d there seems to be a mix of GB and US meanings in it for bottom.

    Ever heard this one?

    “As I sit on my ass with my arse on my ass, the paradox springs to my mind that my arse is in front of the arse of my ass thus the arse of my ass is behind”.

    1. Nice one Ray! And all the best for 2012 to you too – please keep them coming ilke this one!

  23. I got 4d just from the definition thinking it was “game with rake” as the rake is the term for the action at the end of each round where the losing chips are collected up and discarded. I didn’t see the rake bit as being part of the wordplay until after a bit of head scratching. A coincidence? or an extra bit of help worked into the clue?

    An enjoyable puzzle.

  24. Really useful and very clear. Am a real crossword fan but often get stuck on certain types of clue. Great to have some help and insight. Thanks very much and keep up the good work.
    Best wishes for 2012

  25. This was the second crossword this week I sat down and worked through with one of my American colleagues.
    Noting it was a Ray T, I had ‘bigged it up’ to him in advance as a puzzle from one of the the UK’s very best.
    And we were not disappointed!
    Truly great stuff here, from the cunning of 11a, to the laugh-out-loud penny drop moment delivered by 22d (which he got!), to the saucy surface readings of 22a and 2d.
    Well done Ray T for a delightful puzzle – loved it! :)

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