DT 26766 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26766

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26766

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

This puzzle exhibits the unmistakeable characteristics of one of my favourite setters. A glance at the Quick crossword confirms that Ray T is our Thursday Tormentor.

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    Out-of-uniform cops in lethal exchange (12)
{PLAINCLOTHES} – this adjective meaning out-of-uniform (usually applied to cops) is an anagram (exchange) of COPS IN LETHAL – Chambers is inconsistent here – the dictionary has the answer without a hyphen but the Thesaurus has it with

9a    Submarine’s left following protective coat (9)
{UNDERSEAL} – combine an adjective meaning submarine with L(eft) to get a protective coat applied to the bottom of a motor vehicle

10a    Grand bits of fluff giving flash (5)
{GLINT} – start with G(rand) and add some fluffy material to get a flash or sparkle

11a    Foreign Office? (6)
{BUREAU} – this French word means an office or government department

12a    Wrapped in duvet, here all’s heavenly (8)
{ETHEREAL} – hidden inside (wrapped in) the clue is an adjective meaning heavenly or spiritual

13a    Draw out girl, endlessly motionless (6)
{DISTIL} – this verb meaning to draw out is a charade of a girl’s name and an adjective meaning motionless without its final letter (endless)

15a    Bay enclosure providing shelter (8)
{COVERING} – a charade of a bay and an enclosure gives some shelter or protection

18a    Depressed after female came out (8)
{FLOWERED} – put a word meaning depressed or dropped after F(emale) to get a verb meaning came out or blossomed

19a    Start to plough current furrow over for vegetable (6)
{TURNIP} – begin with the initial letter (start) of Plough, then add a word meaning current or trendy and a furrow, reverse the lot (over) and the result is a vegetable

21a    Account by clergyman for faithful (8)
{ACCURATE} – a charade of the abbreviation of AC(ount) and a clergyman gives an adjective meaning faithful or correct

23a    ‘Amigo’ advanced to eat the Spanish dish (6)
{PAELLA} – put an amigo or friend and A(dvanced) around the Spanish definite article to get this traditional Spanish dish

26a    Open completed in front of tee (5)
{OVERT} – an adjective meaning open is derived from a charade of a word meaning completed and T(ee)

27a    Engaged and paid to pen novel (9)
{APPOINTED} – this verb meaning engaged or employed is an anagram (novel) of PAID TO PEN

28a    Sublime time sprinted before finish in track (12)
{TRANSCENDENT} – this adjective meaning sublime or supreme is constructed from T(ime) , a three-letter verb meaning sprinted, and a finish inside a track or spoor


1d    Delved into prize sack (7)
{PLUMBED} – a verb meaning delved into comes from a charade of an adjective meaning prize and a sack or couch

2d    Tree’s more exposed with top removed (5)
{ALDER} – to get this tree drop the initial B (with top removed) from an adjective meaning more exposed

3d    Story of right rotter invading innocent (9)
{NARRATIVE} – a story is created by putting R(ight) and a rotter or cad inside an adjective meaning innocent

4d    Place for smallest room, some say (4)
{LIEU} – a word meaning place, usually as part of a phrase, sounds like (some say) another word for the smallest room

5d    Catch up around dodgy hotel giving long performance (8)
{TELETHON} – reverse (up in a down clue) a verb meaning to catch around an anagram (dodgy) of HOTEL to get a very long performance seeking to raise money for a charity

6d    Bird close to albatross? (5)
{EAGLE} – this bird represents a golf score of one more than an albatross

7d    National airline flying outside Britain (8)
{LIBERIAN} – this national of a West African country which was founded in 1822 as a settlement for freed slaves is derived by putting an anagram (flying) of AIRLINE around B(ritain)

8d    Stone a criminal in foreign prison facility (6)
{STALAG} – a charade of ST(one), A from the clue and a criminal gives a German camp for prisoners of war

14d    Puts a lid on drinks? (8)
{SCOTCHES} – a verb meaning puts a lid on or stops is also the drinks favoured by Big Boab!

16d    Letters perhaps auctioned off (9)
{EDUCATION} – training that could (perhaps) result in the obtaining of letters like BSc or MA is an anagram (off) of auctioned

17d    Keep ‘Under Pressure’ backing Queen on song (8)
{RESTRAIN} – a verb meaning to keep under pressure is derived by reversing the Queen’s cypher and adding a song

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d    Bottle shown by tart possessing ‘oomph’ (6)
{FLAGON} – this bottle is generated when a tart or pastry is placed around oomph or vitality

20d    Place motor by front of Triumph Acclaim (7)
{PLAUDIT} – a charade of PL(ace), a make of car and the initial letter (front) of Triumph gives acclaim or praise

22d    One may raise chopper (5)
{ROTOR} – a cryptic definition of what lifts a helicopter off the ground

24d    Hard in diet to get supple (5)
{LITHE} – put H(ard) inside an adjective describing food that is low in calories to get an adjective meaning supple

25d    Imposing tips of Everest peak in conquest (4)
{EPIC} – an adjective meaning imposing is derived from the initial letters (tips) of the last four words of the clue

I thought this was easier than most of Ray T’s puzzles – how about you?

The Quick crossword pun: {arrest} + {toff} + {unease} = {Aristophanes}

161 comments on “DT 26766

  1. Always a pleasure to get a Ray T on a Thursday & I would agree with BD that this is one of the easier offerings from the maestro. Favouruite clue has got to be 20d if only for the reason that we used to own one back in the day.

  2. Yes, no problems with this one, although I had to think about 4d for a little while. I was close to putting LEEK (as in the town in Staffs) but convinced myself it couldn’t be that! Thanks to RayT and to BD.

  3. Good morning Dave much more a three star at least for me today, most clues reading nicely and very workable except for 4d!! At first I put Looe in, then struggled with 9a! eventually realising what 9a was but knowing 4d had to be looe I was really confused! Then I had a moment of enlightenment, the answer was Leek, which is a place in Staffordshire, yes that was it (sort of) A place, the smallest room where one goes for a leek, so to say! :-D what a genius I thought, until……………I read the blog – Duh :-( thanks once again for blog Dave though I did finish without it, apart from 4d of course!

    1. Well, Looe is clearly the right answer!
      That’s my excuse for taking ages to finish the top Left corner anyway!

      Be honest- the given answer isn’t even pronounce “Loo” !!

        1. Huh.
          Yet again Chambers flies in the face of sense…..

          Fair enough, I stand corrected; I always thought pronouncing Lieu as Loo was a bit of a Malapropism. Or something. Anyway, a bit like pronouncing “Ypres” as “Wipers”, but without Germans trying to gas you.

        2. My French dictionary gives the pronunciation as lj then something that i can’t type, but is like a phi, but with the line through it at an angle from 2 o’clock to 8 o’clock. this gives it a slight y sound in the middle. This is my excuse for not having got the answer !

  4. Great, as always. I started off very slowly and thought it was going to be a difficult one but then got going. Came to grief a bit with 4d – tried to make it “Looe” which clearly wasn’t going to work, then wondered if my answer to 9a was wrong, it wasn’t, and never thought of the right answer – stupid of me!! Too many wonderful clues to pick any particular ones out – perhaps 10a and 18d, if only because they are SO Ray T!!
    With thanks to Ray T and BD.
    Have just been having a quick look at the toughie – the answer to 14a when in a Ray T puzzle some time ago was one of my favourite ever clues.

  5. Well, 4D did for me too, it was obvious the answer was Looe. Hurrumph !!!! Very enjoyable with some nice surface readings, I particularly liked 19A and 29A.

      1. The “misleading” reading of the clue! For example, in 1d, the clue “Delved into prize sack” reads as a sentence in its own right and conjours up an image of someone rummaging in a sack to pull out their prize.” You have to ignore the surface and split the sentence up into definition (delved into) and wordplay (prize and sack) to solve the clue.

        1. I end up with the word I think is the answer and disect it looking for the clue. Doing it backwards almost.

          1. Me too.
            A friend and I used to try to put in as many answers as possible without reading the clues……

  6. 1a is clever. 4d have me writing “LOOE” – one of my favourite places, which held me up filling in 9a for a while. Coincidentally, as I read 17d “Under Pressure” had just started playing on my iPhone!

  7. Another fine RayT puzzle. I started ticking the good clues and finished with them all! 4d was last in having experimented with Looe and Leek. Why, O why do we have to wait so long for RayT/Beam puzzles.

    1. Maybe because we don’t all like them UTC? I am getting more used to them but he is far from being my favouite setter

    2. I also started putting a little red mark by my favourite clues and then realised that they couldn’t ALL be best – or favourite for that matter!! Ray T fans don’t do too badly – he is usually alternate Thursdays, I think, although I, for one, would be delighted if he was every Thursday.

      1. When I used to really struggle with Ray T, I remember you telling me he wasn’t to be feared, but admired for his brilliance. I’m now firmly in the admiring camp. This was great.

  8. Funny that I got 4d straight away as one of the first answers despite living near Leek at one time & spending 7 or 8 summer holdays in Looe as a child in th 60s. Dad would wake me & my brother at 5:30 the we’d set off from York hoping to reach Looe or St Ives by 6:00 that evening – no motorways then, it was the Fosse Way or nothing for Dad. Happy days!

      1. …which is now Nestlés unfortunately. Where did you work? Offices (posh) or factory floor (choccy bashing)?
        All of my family (like most of York) worked there at one time or another (some still do!)

  9. Very enjoyable crossword from Ray T today. Not one of his trickiest but one of his better Queen clues!

    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

    1. Hi Prolxic, when you say one of RayTs trademarks is his Queen clues do you just mean the group or any kind of queen?

      1. Usually, Ray T includes a reference that perennial popular beat combo – ideally with one of their songs named as well.

  10. A nice puzzle from Ray T. I had no problem with 4d, my nemesis was 14d although I do enjoy one or three occaisionally. Thanks to BD for his usual lucid explanations.

  11. One of those ‘this is tricky, oh I have solved it in the usual time’ crosswords from Ray T – very enjoyable thank you Ray. My favourite clue is 18d although there are a number of runners up. THanks to BD too.

    The toughie is a very enjoyable offering from Shamus today. After that, I highly recommend the Paul in the Guardian.

    1. Too which I would add Anax in the Independent who is wearing stout walking shoes rather than pink fluffy slippers or hob-nailed boots.

    1. Poor Brian. He really gets told off about his negative Ray T comments, and then when he doesn’t make one, people try to provoke him. Enough!

  12. The word given in curly brackets for 6d… is not right! I was checking to see if I was right:(

  13. Loved this. Steady and enjoyable. My fave was 18d. I would also like to see Ray T as a more regular setter, but then, would that devalue the enjoyment? Thanks to all.

    1. Hi Captain, it’s nice to have a mixture of setters because not everyone likes the same style, I for one would not like to have more RayT, though am coping better with them now, maybe for all his fans RayT will bring out a book of crossword puzzles?

      1. I think that there is a big question mark over RayT. There were 4/5 dodgy clues today and the fact that Brian has been missing is very telling. I’m reserving judgement for future puzzles

        1. That’s your opinion!

          If the answer to 4d had been Looe, that would probably have been wrong for some (the same?) people. Leek is positively wrong as it is not a synonym for loo. Given the across clues, there was only one possible answer.

          BTW Brian has visited the blog, if only to say that he had missed out on this excellent puzzle.

          1. Absolutely right. Lieu is the only possible correct answer. It just took me a little while to work out what it was.

  14. Ray T, it’s taken me a long time to get to grips with your crosswords, but I am now officially a fan. I loved this puzzle. It was challenging, it was fun, it had some great anagrams and lots of ah-ha moments that really made me smile.

  15. More of a three star for me today struggled with 18A and 28A and 4D, thanks to Ray T and BD for the assistance.

  16. Good puzzle, just the odd clue to give pause – 4d took a while to click into place, but I did get there, surprisingly without going via Looe or Leek! Last two in were 5d and 14d – had all the checking letters for both, but just couldn’t see the answers, so gave up and read the hints and all became obvious. Thanks to RayT and BD (PS I’m firmly convinced of today being Thursday!:-)).

  17. That took me longer than normal – probably as I haven’t done a Thursday puzzle for ages but I really enjoyed it. My favourite clue was 20d but there were lots of excellent ones. Didn’t fall in to the trap on 4d as got that straight away.

    Thanks to Ray T and to BD

  18. OK, I’m in the Looe camp too, perhaps because the aged parent lives in Cornwall. Never thought of LEEK because I got the right answer first – actually I think I prefer it!!!!

    Excellent stuff from RayT and a great review as usual. Thanks to both.

        1. Thanks Mary. It’s a nasty little bug that half the village appear to have had in the last week!

  19. Anyway, apart from the Loo fiasco, I enjoyed this, thanks RayT (would you be R8 in a text?) and BD.

    And for those of you who are sick of me whingeing, I’ll be doing the Toughie once I get home, as it isn’t Monday.

  20. Thanks to Ray T for the enjoyment, and to BD for the review.
    I romped through the last few puzzles from Ray; this one took me quite a bit longer.

        1. I am only just getting at it, and even if it takes me the rest of the evening, I will persevere. Going by the comments, it will be well worth the effort.

  21. Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle & to Big Dave for the review & hints. A fantastic puzzle from Ray T, did it all without hints except for 4d, thought it was loes for some reason duh. Well played Ray! All the clues were like a mini-adventure, too many favourites to mention them all. Particularly liked 13a, 8 & 18d. More of the same please :-)

  22. Why have I been intimidated by a stop censorship banner on this site for the last two days ?

        1. I would also add, from a practical perspective, looking at this site on a mobile phone connection, as I almost always do, this banner crawls down and obscures everything.

        2. Sorry William, if you meant my comment, it was only meant as a joke.
          I apologise unreservedly.

          Also, by the way, the banner is annoying me too.

          1. I didn’t mean your comment. So no apologies necessary. I meant the “ban censorship” banner. I

    1. It is actually quite important WB.
      Unfortunately, there is little that we this side of the pond can do about it, but there is a bill currently going through Congress to allow the United States government to shut down any website that it considers to be against their national interest.
      Generally speaking, this should not affect us clean living, god fearing Brits, however ….. there is an election in progress over there at the moment which could result in an ultra conservative, Mormon Presiden being electedt. Since part of the Mormon teaching is that (for instance) alcohol, cigarettes, abortion, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, etc is a sin, it is possible that the American government could shut down any website advertising any of the above. This could include CofE websites (who do not consider homosexuality or abortion a sin), drinks manufacturers websites, etc. Who’s to say they would not consider Airbus against their national interest since they are in direct competition with Boeing, or Greggs the Bakers since they are in competition with McDonalds. In theory, they could ban any site that challenges their desired version of history (whoo hoo – they won in Vietnam after all and the Brits made a token gesture in support of the US during the two World Wars, way to go Uncle Sam).
      The link given will send an e-mail to the sender’s congressman (or woman)(sorry if I start to sound a little Monty Python there), so filling in the form in the UK will not do a lot of good, however, I would strongly urge any US citizen reading this to support the Stop Censorship campaign.
      If it goes ahead, the web will be a much worse place for it. I suspect they will claim the main reason their ‘policing’ the web is ‘because they invented it’ whereupon we can have our say since it had bugger all to do with America and was invented by Tim Berners-Lee from Oxford University.

        1. All it would take would be for someone to decide that art of the Crossword is un-american and that’s yer lot. Can you imagine what they would have done to the DT crossword just before D-Day (when the codenames of five (I think) of the landing beaches appeared as answers)?

            1. Let’s not get snotty about the USA. Well too liberal (in the pejorative sense) a thing to do. And in the mean time clicking on this xxxxxxxxxx banner has buggered up my phone.

      1. Well. Let’s not get too excited about this. We have one and one only Mormon MP in this country and he happens to be an absolutely top geezer. And I should know as I’m his Agent.

        Could you email me your concerns and I will handle it onwards.

        1. The problems aren’t with this country WB, the problems are with the US government who seem to believe they have to right to censor the web for everyone worldwide. I doubt very much if your MP would get very far.

          1. Well IMHO he must be able to get further than sticking a banner up on a crossword blog no matter how excellent (and it is)

          1. I’ll get rid of it next Monday!

            It does no harm to the blog, so i don’t know why there is so much fuss. Wikipedia felt sufficiently strongly about it to shut down yesterday for 24 hours.

            1. Perhaps we could have a save the rhinoceros banner. It would do harm. And might secure the future of this short sighted vegetarian tank of an animal.

      2. We don’t have a thing to worry about because no way is a Republican going to get elected. They are all too busy digging as much dirt about one another as they possibly can. Obama is going to look like a knight in shining armor when this is all over.

        1. … and how many of you voted for Dubya because you didn’t think he was going to get in? Never overestimate the intelligence of the average American voter.

          1. It’s the biggest mystery to me. Many of the people who vote Republican are the poorest, least educated.

  23. Truly brilliant. Overall took no longer than the ‘easy’ ones earlier in the week. I went fishing in Looe and caught a red herring but realised my mistake when I guessed the last four letters of 9a. Did not get diverted by a Leek. LSt two in 10a and 7d. For the latter did not spot the anagram and had the name of an airline in the middle but once I did it made sense. What was so good is that mist clues had but read well and can be broken down to get the answer (working out why later) did not like 24d. Loved 15 21 28a 14 and 20d and lots more. More of RayT please

  24. Great puzzle but joined the club on 4d. Am I becoming a Ray T fan? Found him very difficult when I started doing the crossword.

  25. Excellent stuff from RayT today! Particularly liked the surface reading of 7d and the well hidden 12a.

    17d rang a few bells – thought I’d seen it before – but it’s a variation on the theme:-

    DT 26634 – Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’ with huge exhibitionist (5)

  26. What a lot of comments – I bet the great man himself won’t manage to get through all these when he puts in an appearance, as he usually does! :smile:

    1. The “Who’s lurking?” count has also been very high all day today!

      I really must find something else to do! Where’s that bottle of wine?

  27. Thanks again to BD for the expert dissection, and to all who took the time to leave comments, all of which I have read!


    1. It’s about 99.99% certain. Perhaps we should have a bet on when it will happen. I’m going out to defend the Church Quiz title at 7.00pm and it should be before that.

      1. From what I remember from the statistics Friday’s are usually a high hit rate so I’ll go for 1600CET.

        What’s the stakes? Don’t even think about ‘If pommers is wrong he blogs the next Elgar’!

          1. Had it not been for that dratted lightning strike, my original guess of 3 February would probably have been about right.

        1. Cut & Paste : “Blog Statistics (since 28 Jan 09) 4,994,309 page views – and rising!”.

          I’m useless at arithmetic – but do you expect so many comments tomorrow?

          Ahh! Page views – not comments! Wrong again!

      1. Being a Mancunian the first 3 bits of that description are fine, but I remember the Roses matches of the 60’s/70’s!! Never mind, you’re forgiven.

  28. Very long discussion today covering many interesting topics. Did the crossword stimulate these? Certainly the discussion about loo’s and leaks (sorry that was leeks) or is everybody on vacation today?

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