DT 26759 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26759

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26759

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Maybe it’s just me but I thought this was a fair bit trickier than recent Wednesday puzzles and I found the right hand side a lot harder than the left!  Some excellent clues, as usual, but there are a couple that I think don’t quite work. It will be interesting to hear what others think.

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           Reduced watch for petty criminal maybe (5-5)
{SMALL TIMER} – This is a term to describe a petty criminal. Take a word for reduced or little and follow with a word for a watch or clock.

6a           Bundle sporting mates abroad, sending the last one West (4)
{SWAG} – Take an acronym for Wives And GirlfriendS of sportsmen, especially footballers, and move the last letter to the beginning (sending the last one west in an across clue) and you get a word for a bundle.   I’m not sure what the word ‘abroad’ brings to this clue but perhaps someone will enlighten me!
My thanks to Jezza for explaining why the word is there. Apparantly the wives and girlfriends are specifically those of members of travelling football teams.

10a         Primate caught in credit scam (5)
{CAPER} –Insert a primate in the usual abbreviation for credit and you get a scam or crime.

11a         Villain’s cold — nurse getting worried (9)
{SCOUNDREL} – This villain is an anagram (getting worried) of COLD NURSE.

12a         Devil-may-care potholer entertaining tabloid regularly (8)
{CAVALIER} –Take another word for a potholer and insert (entertaining) the alternate letters (regularly) of tAbLoId and you get a word to describe a devil-may-care attitude.

13a         Ask for quiet conduct (5)
{PLEAD} –A word for ask or beg is made from the usual letter for quiet (think music terms) followed by a word for conduct, as the conductor might do with his orchestra.   I like this one for its simplicity and good surface.

15a         Led off following Cornish home fraud (7)
{SWINDLE} – An anagram (off) of LED placed after (following) the area of the country where you find Cornwall and the usual crosswordland word for home gives a fraud or confidence trick.

17a         Union rep finishes broadcasting (7)
{PAIRING} – This union or joining together is P (reP finishes) followed by a word for broadcasting or bringing out into the open.

19a         Naturally produced skin, for example, is chilled initially (7)
{ORGANIC} –Take the generic word for what your skin is an example of and follow with IC (Is Chilled initially) and you get a term meaning naturally produced, i.e. without chemical fertilizers or insecticides.

21a         Germany perversely agreed to devalue (7)
{DEGRADE} – A word meaning to devalue or make worse is the IVR code for Germany followed by an anagram (perversely) of AGREED.   Another nice clue with an excellent and topical surface reading!

22a         Dark and terribly thin, but good at heart (5)
{NIGHT} – This is the time when it is dark. It’s an anagram (terribly) of THIN with G(ood) inserted in the middle.

24a         Novel question? (8)
{WHODUNIT} – A colloquial term for a detective novel is also the question asked by the detective in said novel!  This one made me smile once the penny had finally dropped!

27a         Popular musical instrument, note, cannot be touched (9)
{INVIOLATE} –  The usual term for popular followed by a musical instrument (like a large violin) and a note from the sol-fa scale gives a word meaning cannot be touched.  Pommette used to play this instrument!

28a         Demolish sheep’s head with potato (5)
{SMASH} – Take S (Sheep’s head) and follow with some squashed potato to get a word meaning demolish.

29a         Delay retiring before a festive occasion (4)
{GALA} – A word for a delay reversed (retiring) and placed before A (from the clue) gives a festive occasion.

30a         People putting lignite in rings may be experienced travellers (3-7)
{JET SETTERS} –This one isn’t easy to explain! The definition here is experienced travellers. They are also a phrase which could be describing people who put lignite in rings, as in pieces of jewellery.  According to Wiki this type of lignite is actually used in some costume jewellery!


1d           Religious group caught in position (4)
{SECT} – A religious group is C(aught) placed inside a word for position or put in place (similar to 30a).

2d           A very quiet place for filming comedies is attracting interest (9)
{APPEALING} –A (from the clue) followed by the abbreviation for very quiet and the studios in London where comedy films were made in the 1950’s gives a word for attracting interest or being attractive.

3d           Grub from river running through soft rock (5)
{LARVA} – This grub is R(iver) inserted into some soft rock.  Not sure about this one as the rock is only soft when it’s hot. When it cools it forms an extremely hard rock!

4d           Encourage ideas initially on northern part of church (7)
{INSPIRE} – I (Idea initially) followed by N(orthern) and the tall part of a church gives a word for encourage.

5d           Personal journey in which content of language got riper (3-4)
{EGO TRIP} – This personal or selfish journey is hidden (content of) in language got riper.

7d           Greater suffering encompasses the outskirts of Rheims (5)
{WORSE} – Take a word for suffering or misery and place it around RS (outskirts of RheimS) and you get a word that could mean greater suffering, as in an illness has become more severe.  Unless I’m missing the point here I don’t think this clue works properly as the word suffering seems to be doing double duty as part of the definition and the wordplay.

8d           Woman marrying for money — or JCB? (4,6)
{GOLD DIGGER} – What ‘or’ is in heraldry followed by what a JCB is an example of and you get the term for a woman who marries solely because the new husband has loadsa money.  I think this may be my favourite for its unusual, sort of reverse, use of the word ‘or’. The first word could also be the colour of the JCB so the phrase could be taken as a description of a JCB!

9d           Speaking sharply, answer for the first one in cutting (8)
{SNAPPING} – To get a word for speaking sharply or abruptly you need to think of another word for cutting and replace the first I (first one) with an A(nswer).  This clue is being scrupulously fair as there are two I’s in the word for cutting and it’s the first one that you must replace with the A.

14d         Time taken by a measuring of depth is amazing (10)
{ASTOUNDING} – A word meaning amazing or surprising is made up from A (from the clue) followed by a way of measuring depth, of the sea perhaps, with T(ime) inserted.

16d         Contribution from party people (8)
{DONATION} – This contribution, to a charity perhaps, is made up of the usual crosswordland party and a word for a people.  Bit of an old chestnut I think!

18d         Not moving prisoner, accommodating a new unit (9)
{INANIMATE} – To get a word meaning not moving take a word for someone incarcerated in a jail (prisoner) and insert (accommodating)  ANI (A N(ew) I (unit)).

20d         Beacon designed to cover western plant (7)
{COWBANE} – A plant which grows in wet meadows and along streams is an anagram (designed) of BEACON with W(estern) inserted (to cover).

21d         Cattle workers formed by origin of Dorking Wanderers (7)
{DROVERS} –People who work with cattle are made from D (origin of Dorking) and another term for wanderers.  This clue is better than I first thought when solving as a quick check in Wiki reveals that Dorking Wanderers FC does actually exist!

23d         Yielded to pressure and left hammer (5)
{GAVEL} – A hammer used by a auctioneer is formed from a word for yielded or buckled under pressure and L(eft).

25d         Vacates pub, returning distressed (5)
{UPSET} – A word for distressed is hidden but reversed (returning) in vacates pub. This is another that I don’t think quite works as there is nothing to suggest that the answer is contained in the first two words of the clue. Unless ‘returning’ is it but then it’s doing double duty as both containment and reversal indicator!

26d         Acting for the monarchy creates some resistance (4)
{OHMS} – If split (1,1,1,1) this would be a acronym for acting on behalf of the monarchy, you might see in on an envelope from the tax office. It’s also units of electrical resistance.

A bit thin on picture opportunities again!
I like all the ones in blue but favourites are 13a, 21a and 8d.

The Quick crossword pun: {older} + {sucks} + {lee} = {Aldous Huxley}

59 comments on “DT 26759

  1. Mostly gentle, but a couple to think about. Favourite clue, 26d.
    Thanks to Jay for the enjoyment, and to Pommers for the notes.

    Re 6a, the wives and girlfriends are normally those accompanying a travelling team, hence the ‘abroad’.

    1. Hi Jezza, didn’t realize it was specific to travelling teams other halves! That, of course, explains it. I knew there had to be a reason for the word being there but it’s a new one on me. Ta muchly!

      1. Hi Pommers
        Chambers says…
        ‘A wife or girlfriend of a professional sportsman, esp one of group accompanying a travelling team.’

        1. The OED doesn’t mention the travelling bit either! It has the following for wag:

          In pl.: (collectively) the wives and girlfriends of a group of professional football players, typically characterized as having a high media profile and a glamorous or extravagant lifestyle; (in extended use) the wives and girlfriends of any group of men, esp. celebrities or sportsmen.

  2. Thought it was a lot easier than yesterday’s apart from 30a which was incomprehensible. What a dreadful clue! Apart from tat it was Ok.

    1. Enjoyed this one and found it easier than yesterday, thanks to Jay and Pommers
      Jet (lignite) mourning jewellery. It originated in England, where Queen Victoria was often seen wearing jet jewellery after the death of Prince Albert, and it allowed the wearer to continue wearing jewellery while expressing a state of mourning at the death of a loved one.[29]

    2. I too enjoyed this and found it easier than yesterday.
      I also liked 30A! Maybe it helps to have visited Whitby and seen the shops selling such jewellery, which is to be found on the coast nearby.

  3. enjoyable enough and a slight challenge. Some nice surfaces, but have to agree that 25d is lacking an indicator and the only way 7d works is if ‘greater’ alone is the definition. Maybe it is synonymous in some respect.

  4. I thought that this was at the easier end of Jay’s crosswords but not the less enjoyable.

    For 7d, I think that the definition is simply “greater” as in the “the debt crisis is worse / greater than we feared”.

    Favourite clues were 8d and 26d.

    Thanks to Jay for an enjoyable crossword and to Pommers for the review.

    The Toughie lives up to its name today.

    1. Hi Prolixic

      I think you’re probably right about 7d but it’s still not my favourite clue!

      Having read your comment about the Toughie I think I’ll have a go at Paul in the Grauniad instead!

  5. All in all exteremely do-able. A few headscratching moments but an extra cup of coffee helped a lot. Regarding 3d, pumice is solidified lave & that is soft.

    1. Hadn’t thought of pumice! D’oh!
      Not on form today, must be the yesterday’s surfeit of wine catching up with me!

        1. Not today apparantly! This one took me about twice as long a last week’s and everyone else seems to think it’s pretty easy!

  6. I enjoyed this, though I agree the left hand side was easier than the right. I managed to do it all except for 26d, where I needed the hint and then ha a ‘doh’ moment. It’s many years since I saw those letters. There were lots of good and smile-making clues so it’s hard to pick a favourite, but I specially liked 24a and 30a. Thought that was a great clue!
    Many thanks to Jay and Pommers.:-)

  7. That was fun but my brain must be wired differently as I had the right hand side done before the left – in fact bottom left was last part to go in. My favourite clue my a long way was 8d (agree with you there Pommers) but I also liked 16d.

    I just read the controversy of yesterday’s easy but enjoyable crossword. I favour the side that says as long as it is enjoyable and the clues are good why not give confidence to solvers.

    Thanks to Jay for the crossword and an excellent review Pommers.

  8. Hola pommers, I agree about todays being slightly harder than yesterdays and the R/H side being tougher than the left, in fact it took me a while to get going on this one, in 29a you don’t say to reverse the delay? I didn’t get the JCB bit until I read your blog and was thinking why gold digger a JCB is just a digger! Duh! Fav clue for me today were 19a, 26d and 30a, thanks for blog pommers, neede it to understand why some of my answers were what they were, so to speak :-)

    1. Hi Mary, 29a now sorted out. Brain fade this morning now made worse by the Toughie!
      Thanks for pointing it out!

  9. Straightforward but exceedingly enjoyable as usual from Jay. Thank you to him and to Pommers. My top favourite was the wonderful 8d. Unlike Brian, I enjoyed 30a too as I thought it was a very original way of clueing something that appears in cryptics quite a lot.

    As Prolixic indicates above, the Toughie is a right proper Toughie, resulting in the need for a darkened room afterwards. It does however contain possibly my d’oh of the year, about which I shall comment in the right place later.

  10. Sorry, bit late this morning. Been skyping my niece in NZ (see, some of us oldies CAN use technology). Very straightforward and fun crossword today I thought, 6A held me up for a while, but as soon as 7D went in, it was fairly obvious. Loved 8D and 21A.

  11. I feel quite pleased with myself today to have found this straightforward on both the right and the left sides. I loved 26d – very clever!

  12. Many thanks to Jay for a very enjoyable and not overtaxing crossword and to Pommers for the excellent review.

  13. Did this one in quick time but 6 took a bit of thought and on reflection I am making it favourite. Also liked13 21a and 24. Good to see the classic 26 again!

  14. I enjoyed this one very much and didn’t have too much trouble apart from completely missing the point of 9d – I had “snipping” and couldn’t understand where the “answer for the first one” in the clue came into it at all. Maybe it’s just in our family but if someone is being a bit grumpy someone else usually says “Why are you being so “snippy” today?” Oh well, you win some, you lose some! Spent ages trying to think of a specific novel for 24d. Best clues today, for me, include 13, 21, 24 and 30a and 8, 14 and 26d. With thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  15. Well half way through I have virtually all the right side done and only 12A on the left. What am I to think about this.

  16. I think I completed this one even more quickly than yesterday’s, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Favourites include 27 & 30a, and 8, 14, 16 & 26d. Thanks to Jay & Pommers.

  17. I really enjoyed this and very happily completed it without “artificial aids” … which always makes me feel very happy and smug. Love you Jay x

  18. Enjoyed this to-day as I romped through about three quarters of it and came to a grinding halt at bottom right corner . Last one in 24a ,great clue though and needed Pommers’ hints for 30a. Got 8d immediately but didn’t realise what a clever clue it was until I read the hints. Thanks to Jay & Pommers. Always late in posting comments as I don’t do the crossword until after lunch (a late Spanish lunch).

    1. Apart from Wednesdays pommette and I do the puzzle together over our late Spanish lunch! Where in Spain are you?

  19. Didn’t see the “or” connection at 8d – thought it was simply a description of a JCB, but a nice clue anyway. Are readers aware that the Quickie-link subject died the very same day as CS Lewis and JFK. An interesting piece of fiction I have somewhere speculates on the conversation they might have had while waiting at the Pearly Gates (one hopes). I found the book while playing the part of Lewis in “Shadowlands”, and often wonder if he would have been better remembered if he hadn’t croaked at the same moment as his infamous American “cousin”.

  20. Just had a big D’OH moment on 25d!!!!!! Surprised nobody has pointed it out to me earlier, or maybe you were all just waiting for the penny to finally drop as it’s so obvious when you see it!

    ‘Returning’ means ‘giving back’ so if you look at the clue as reading ‘Vacates pub giving back distressed’ it works fine but the surface reading isn’t as good.

    Think I might have to give up this game (or go easy on the vino collapso on Tuesdays)! It was a very nice couple of bottles of local Jumilla wine though.

    1. I have to say I only look in detail at the hints if I am not sure on something….but have always assumed that you are Mr Perfect anyway and do not require any correcting!!!!

      1. Hear, hear, I think that you are Mr Wonderful when it comes to the hints. Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle with some well crafted clues. I agree on 25d

          1. Hi Collywobbles
            We are of the same mind! Both these are in blue but the two you mention below aren’t! Great minds think alike? I still think the JCB clue is the best though.

  21. Thanks to Jay, and Pommers for the review & hints. A great puzzle lots of amusing clues, had great fun solving it. Favourites were 28a for the surface reading, 18 & 21d for being amusing and 26d as I worked for the GPO as a telephone engineer. I’m interested to know what the Big Red Book says regarding lignite, I knew it as a brown coal, is it also jet? Which is normally black, but can be dark brown, is it the same substance or just another use of the word?

    1. Hi Heno, took me a bit of research before I fully understood the jet/lignite link but jet is a type of lignite and the source of the phrase ‘jet black’! I always thought lignite was brown coal but it seems not. One lives and learns on this blog!

  22. Faves for this one : 12a, 15a, 24a, 2d, 8d & 20d.
    Like Pommers, I felt 3d was a bit odd “soft rock” – I have crawled around Vesuvius and Etna many times and it is pretty hard!

    Got 6a OK but was enlightened by the comment!

    Fish and chips tonight with Ste-Roseline rosé then blueberries and cream!

    1. Evening Derek

      The ‘soft’ rock I think is pumice, a form of aerated and solidified lava, as pointed out earlier, but I still think it’s a bit weak!

  23. Well, today I’ve been called ‘Mr Perfect’ and ‘Mr Wonderful’ – and on a day when I got three of the explanations a bit wrong! I dread to think what you might say on a day when I actually get everything right!

    G’night all.

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