DT 26744 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26744

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26744

A Full Review by Crypticsue

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

Christmas Eve seems a long time ago but that is when we were treated to this special seasonally- themed puzzle from Rufus.  I always enjoy one of his  Monday puzzles as they are a good straightforward start  to the crosswording week and so it was nice to have this extra Saturday treat, with just the right level of difficulty for a busy day.   My only slight quibble would be that it does seem a little heavy on the double definitions.


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.


1 Two presents intended to pacify (3,3)
NOW NOW – Repeating the adverb meaning at the present time produces an interjection intended to give reassurance or pacify.

4 List of cards initially she’d put together before Christmas, we hear (8)
SCHEDULE – A list or table is derived by inserting a C (cards initially) into SHED (put together indicates the removal of the apostrophe from SHED) and following this with ULE (which sounds like YULE, the season or feast of Christmas).

9 Toy that will be welcome at the children’s party (6)
TRIFLE – A double definition – a toy or thing of little value; a dessert of sponge cake soaked with sherry and covered with jam or fruit, custard and then cream.  Mr CS’s aunt used to make a trifle that was more sherry than sponge and custard and definitely not suitable for a children’s party!

10 Small boy rejected gift — it’s outrageous (8)
FLAGRANT – Outrageous or notorious –   a reversal of ALF (small boy rejected) so FLA plus GRANT (gift).

12 They go round in circles distributing cards, losing a number (4)
ARCS  –  An anagram (distributing) of CAR[D]S produces ARCS (part of the circumference of a circle).  Losing a number is the instruction to remove the D, the Roman numeral for 500.

13 Singers in church, knocking back port (5)
CHOIR – A nice straightforward clue – just follow CH (church) with a reversal of the port of RIO.

14 You might say it when offering a gift or present (4)
HERE –   ‘HERE, take this’ (Have this present)   or ‘HERE I am’ (I am present).

17 Waits for them! (5,7)
CAROL SINGERS –  As Prolixic said on Monday 19 December ‘A Rufus Christmas Crossword without “Waits” is like Christmas without the carols!’    WAITS  is of course the historical name for people who welcome in Christmas by playing or singing out of doors at night.

20 Money you give for a present (12)
CONTRIBUTION –  Another double definition which doesn’t really need explaining.

23 I’d look round to see a star (4)
IDOL – A star that is an object of love and adoration –   ID (from the clue) and OL (a reversal of LO or look).

24 Christmas arrivals may be jokers (5)
CARDS – Christmas greeting cards  or comical, eccentric people.

25 Fairy required — some experience necessary (4)
PERI – A beautiful fairly can be found hidden in exPERIence.

28 Gradually, as folk used to travel according to many Christmas cards (2,6)
BY STAGES – Christmas cards with snowy scenes of stagecoaches portray how people used to travel ie  BY STAGES, which is also an expression meaning doing things gradually.

29 More than one heavenly sign for wise men of the past (6)
ZODIAC  –    Although the Wise Men most associated with Christmas only followed one star, the  Zodiac has 12 heavenly signs  based on constellations or groups of stars.  These have been used by ‘wise men’  through the ages as a means of telling the future.

30 Christmas present drawer (8)
REINDEER –  An animal which pulls, or draws, Santa’s sleigh.

31 Peels off layers of snow-crystals (6)
FLAKES   – To peel off in layers or a very small loose mass of snow.


1 Fruit to come out following the bird (8)
NUTHATCH –  Crosswordland’s December Bird of the Month (it was everywhere not just in the DT puzzles)   NUT (fruit) and HATCH (come out).

2 Hip crowd diverted by material for a cracker (8)
WHIPCORD  – Cord for making whips (which crack!) – an anagram (diverted) of HIP CROWD.

3 Slow in preparing the birds (4)
OWLS –  Another anagram (preparing)  SLOW rearranges to OWLS.

5 Four Christmas presents from Carol (7,5)
CALLING BIRDS –   Hands up who else sang  ‘On the first day of Christmas’ until we got to 4?! 

6 Therefore during dinner gourmet’s tucked in (4)
ERGO  –  Tucked or hidden in dinnER GOurmet  is the Latin word for therefore.

7 Habits of well-bred wise men? (6)
USAGES – Habits, normal practices or customs –  U (upper class, so presumably well-bred) and SAGES (wise men).

8 With respect, Ebenezer Scrooge initially has to pay up (6)
ESTEEM –  To regard with respect,  ES (Ebenezer Scrooge initially) and TEEM – up in a down clue indicates a reversal of MEET (to pay up a debt in full).

11 Revises match arranged for today (9,3)
CHRISTMAS EVE –  An anagram (arranged) of REVISES MATCH gives the day on which this crossword was published.

15 Drinking bender (5)
ELBOW –  Something you bend in order to raise your favourite tipple  to your mouth.

16 Cut the cackle and lend a hand after Christmas dinner (3,2)
DRY UP – Another double definition – stop talking or help with all the Christmas washing up.

18 Associate party with enjoyment (8)
SIDEKICK –   SIDE (party) and KICK (thrill, enjoyment) – a SIDEKICK (partner, deputy, special friend).

19 Top came off mince pies, tumbled and shattered (2,6)
IN PIECES  – Remove the M (top came off) from [M]INCE PIECES, make an anagram (tumbled) of the remaining letters to get an expression meaning shattered to bits.

21 Warning the tree is about to be taken down (6)
TIMBER –  What lumberjacks shout as a tree is about to fall.

22 Suitable tree for Snow White’s companions? (6)
BONSAI  –  A BONSAI tree is a dwarf tree growing in a pot which would indeed be a suitable plant for one of Snow White’s seven friends.

26 Some cards four inches high (4)
HAND – The cards held by a player at one deal is also the name of a measurement of four inches, usually used when measuring horses.

27 Turkey wrapper in hamper (4)
FOIL –  Turkey can be wrapped in FOIL before and after it is roasted in the oven.   As a verb, FOIL means to hamper, baffle, defeat or frustrate.

I have solved many Rufus puzzles but this is only the second time I have been able to review one for the  blog,  my first ‘on the day’ blog was one of his puzzles too.  One of the pleasures of doing the reviews of the weekend puzzles is that it gives extra time to appreciate the wordplay.   So thank you to Rufus and, if it isn’t too late to say so,  ‘Happy New Year’ too.

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