DT 26768 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26768 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26768 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a           Cut back tough fish (8)
Reverse a four-letter verb meaning to cut or trim and then add a word meaning tough to get this European sea fish like the herring, but smaller, thicker, and rounder

12a         Tragic figure going round the beat (7)
Put this tragic figure from the eponymous Shakespeare play around THE to get a verb meaning to beat

20a         The Third Man is this novelist (8)
A bit naught putting this in capitals!  Third man is a position in cricket – so what is this person doing?  The novelist is best known as the author of Tom Jones

28a         He has strict rule about rubbish in fashion house (8)
This strict ruler with total power over a country is derived by putting a single-letter abbreviation of for about and some rubbish inside a French fashion house


1d           Cleaner turned revolting vermin (6)
To get this very light and porous volcanic rock, used for cleaning, reverse (over in a down clue) a two-letter word meaning  turned and add some vermin

16d         Sweet expression of disapproval about fine flower (9)
Start with a sugary sweet and then add the kind of expression of disapproval often used by older people about the activities of the young, put this around F(ine) to get a flower (yes, a flower and not a river!) with small heads of white, pink, or purple

21d         Experienced peacekeepers leaving for river (7)
Here experienced is a verb, not an adjective, just drop the usual peacekeepers and the result is any one one of four similarly named rivers in England.

25d         Dog caught soldiers — American one (5)
This dog, a favourite of Her Majesty, is a charade of C(aught), some soldiers and an American soldier

A few more hints coming soon to a blog near you!

The Crossword Club is now open.  Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

The Quick crossword pun: {genie} + {allergy} = {genealogy}

235 comments on “DT 26768 (Hints)

            1. Hi pawdaw – welcome to the blog.
              You’re right – a lady of this name wrote Bridget Jones Diary but a gentleman of this name wrote The History of Tom Jones.

        1. Think of the third man (and what he does) in cricketing terms and you will have the name of a novelist.

          1. don’t like it, I was working on the third man being Able and trying to come up with fablist or something similar!!

              1. Nor me. I just got the first letter and went on from there. Read ‘Tom Jones’ at uni and recommend it. Great fun!

                1. Where does the Tom Jones reference come from in the question? I cannot see it at all an I’m new to this.

                  1. Gazza answered this at your earlier comment.

                    With all due respect to Ms Helen, I think Henry is considerably better known, and will remain so.

    1. If there are any particular ones you need assistance with, let us know and some friendly soul will jump in to assist.

  1. A couple in the south-east corner helpd me up for a little while until the “Third Man” appeared out of nowhere to enable me to finish. Excellent crossword from our Mysteron today. Thanks to him and to BD for the notes.

    1. Same with me. Once the Third Man went in the rest of the corner followed – except 22d and, despite the hints, I still can’t get it. I must have something else wrong but I don’t think so

      1. Just like you, Collywobbles, I have the three checking letters in place with 22d, have read the hints and I can’t get it either! I’ve had no problems with the rest of the crossword – which proves, if nothing else, that my brain is working – but this answer is defying my Seiko crossword solver too…

      2. It is difficuly to be more specific without being sent to the naughty corner. However, there is an A in there as the abbreviation for area and the answer is a word meaning emptier as someone who is more empty headed or vacuous would be described.

        1. I suspect that Collywobbles has had the same thought as me but you can’t qualify the five-letter word because it’s like the word ‘unique’. Chambers [unless I’ve missed it] doesn’t show this word and I’ve also tried the Longman Crossword Key and it’s not there either…

        2. Right, now, there is only one word that fits, and I’m not going to the naughty corner either but I’m not sure that there is such a word and it isn’t in the BRB therefore, by BDs’ standards it doesn’t exist

          1. got it at last! I’m not sure there is such a word either! I’m really not with it today, still not finished!!

          2. The notes in Chambers refers to how inflections are given. “Plural forms and verb participles, etc. are shown only if they are irregular in formation, or warrant special clarification. Comparative and superlative forms of adjectives are given (again by the same criteria).

            As the simple adjectival form is given and the comparative and superlative forms are not irregular this would suggest Chambers recognises the comparative and superlative forms without spelling them out.

  2. Finished. 21 and 22 d last to go in. Don’t like 22 and not sure where all the answer comes from. Ditto 21 quite like it but don’t know where the 1st three letters come from. Loved 26a when the penny dropped

    1. 21d Experienced peacekeepers leaving for river (7).

      The answer comes from a word meaning experienced from which the first two letters (the abbreviation for peacekeeper) removed leaving the name of a river.

      1. Thanks I gothe river. Very pretty it is too. Just could not work out why. Not a word I would immediately associate with experienced

        1. Hi Wanda – I struggled with 21d too, and it was the last to go in. The word from which you remove the peacekeepers defines experienced as something that you undergo – surgery, for example.

          1. Got the method eventually. My problem was thinking it was made up from two words and not one! Happy days!

          2. 21d. Thanks for all the hints.y I got the river but could not fit it to the clue. A clever one!
            Still got lots to do!

  3. By ‘eck! We’ve not had one like this on a Saturday for a long while. I needed BD’s hints(ta gravely) to get me started properly but I’m stuck in the SW corner. If this a Cephas then he’s got his ‘ob nail boots on INMHO.

  4. Very good puzzle today. Took me a little longer than normal, but I enjoyed the cogitation.
    Favourite clue – 13a. 1d had me going for a while; I was convinced a reversal of MOP for cleaner had to be there!
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

    1. Jezza you and I must be on the same wavelength! 13a was my favourite and I was convinced with “mop” too!

  5. Challenge today but with a couple of super clues ie 23a and 20a (nice to see a sporting clue). Stuck on the last one 22d, any help greatly appreciated. Also could someone explain what 13a has to do with break hold, 4d with telling a tale and 19d to do with rot. Thanks.

    1. 13a In this clue “break hold” means that the “want” breaks the word meaning to “hold” to get “heavily involved”

      5d is an allusion to one of the Canterbury Tales

      19d is T(alk) and W(ith) followed by a word meaning to rot, usually applied to eggs

      1. 13a – So, BD, are you saying that there is a word meaning ‘to hold’ which is broken up into 2 four letter words meaning ‘to hold’
        19d – doesn’t this word start with a ‘c’

        1. No collywobs 19d doesn’t start with a ‘c’
          13a a four letter word for hold split 1 and three contains a four letter word for want giving you ‘heavily involved’

    2. For 22d a word meanig emptier (as in more vacuous) comes from putting an abbreviation for area inside a word meaning privy (not in the sense of a toilet) – think privy council.

    3. for 19d, a word meaning nonsense comes from the first letter of talk, the abbreviation for “with” followed by a word meaning rot.

  6. Very good puzzle today. I am glad that others found the South East corner to be tricky – it took as long as the rest of the puzzle to complete. Thanks to the Mysteron and to BD.

  7. Yes, I enjoyed today’s puzzle too, although I needed Chambers and there were a number of answers that I didn’t understand. I was glad to have explanations for 1d, 24d and 20a, but I’m still confused about 11a and 13a. Thanks to BD, other bloggers and the Mysteron. How I wish I could join you all at the next get-together! :-)

    1. For 11a, the answer (a form of sweet) comes from putting the abbreviation for “cold” inside a word meaning of superior quality.

      For 13a, a phrase meaning being heavily involved comes from putting a word of four letters meaning want inside (to break) a four letter word meaning to hold.

    2. 11a all revealed when you look at the answer as if it is one word. You find an abbreviation for cold inside something superior. 13 you find one word inside the other. Synonyms for want and hold

  8. Finding this hard today, 19d as far as I can see can only be one thing, now the last three words together mean this but if you go by the clue, start of talk, which is T with rot, now the last six letter don’t mean rot anywhere and I have looked, am I not seeing this properly??/

    1. I see it now but surely the clue should say ‘starts’ then to indicate we need the start of talk and with followed by a five letter word for rot??

        1. Oh dear, I’m not with it at all today, think I’ll go sit in the naughty corner anyway, this is too stressful for me today :-(

          1. Now youv’e been told. Actually I’m having the same problems with this puzzle. It may be that it is just too difficult for some of us when we are used to finishing the Saturday crossword by now

      1. No, because “w” for “with” is an abbreviation in its own right. You don’t need to indicate that it is the first letter of the word.

  9. That took longer than most Saturdays. NE corner was my stumbling block as spent agest on 6d and kicked myself (no help needed) when I finally got it. Took ages to understand 12a so will put that as my clue of the day. I also liked 17d and 19d.

    Thanks to setter and to BD for hints.

  10. Really enjoyed this today – 20a was the last in as I could get Harry Lime out of my head! :-) 15a made me smile and I wasn’t quite sure of 22d All in all an enjoyable Saturday morning. As always, thanks to Big Dave and this wonderful blog.

  11. A very enjoyable, going to be a 2* difficulty romp, for me until I got to 22d which on its own took me into 3* territory. Thanks to the Mysteron and to BD too.

    If you are a fan of the alphabetical jigsaw puzzle, you will enjoy the NTSPP.

        1. Precisley why this is an excellent crossword and also precisely why this is an excellent ‘blog. CS only needed to nudge in the right direction and all is clear. I had the same ‘Penny Drop Moment’ myself. Hilary!

    1. 8d Fix adjournment – it will settle issue in court (3-5). Think of a court where a tennis match takes place. The answer involves synonyms for fix (as in moor not mend) and adjournment.

    1. Welcome to the world of Gnome’s law – post your reply, send an email to Gnomethang, and your brain immediately clicks into place :)

  12. So glad that it seems I’m not the only one to have found this difficult – is there still any space in the darkened room? If so I’m on my way!! Have finished now without hints but not happy about 22d – the first five letters are fine for “empty” but can’t find the whole answer anywhere. Also something no-one else has had trouble with (or if they have they haven’t said so) is 2d. I’m fairly sure my answer has to be right – it’s certainly someone with “estate” and it fits with everything else but I can’t make any sense of it at all – am I just being dim? I’ve enjoyed this challenge but it was definitely quite a challenge. I liked 10, 20 (even though it was “crickety”) 25 and 26a and 9, 16 and 21d. With thanks to whoever set this one and to BD.

    1. 2d He has estate car finally at end of road, blue inside (9)

      The final letter of car goes after another word for a road. Inside, you add a word meaning blue (as in depressed) to get a word meaning someone who owns an estate.

    2. For 22d I think Prolixic’s explanation in his Reply to Comment #6 is as good as it gets without being sent into Naughty Corner.

      1. It’s not that I didn’t understand where the answer came from but more that I have doubts about the existence of any such word!

      2. Assuming I’ve got the correct word, I tried a Google on it and it does come up as a scrabble word meaning ‘lacking in intelligence’ – definitely me this morning!

          1. Thank you BD – my darling Dad of 89 and I are regular DT Saturday crossword fans and have often had to resort to your hints to move us along. Nice to join your select group.

          1. …. and dancing, and tennis and all the other “girly” things!! Oh dear – am I beginning to sound sexist here! :smile:

  13. Gosh this was a workout for Saturday morning. thanks for all the hints and tips on the blog without which I would never have finished. But it was extremely enjoyable so thanks to the mystery setter and to BD for gathering us all together for a great exchange of help and opinions.
    PS Sorry for the typing errors – I don’t know how to jet rid of the predictive text in Spanish on the iPad!

          1. Need to change the language to British English which is also in settings but again would need to know Spanish to get there!

  14. Definitely a more sporting challenge than of late, with some clever deceptions and the odd brain-acher. A pity that it was relegated to the inside back-page by Branston’s Broadband Ad. Harumph. Thanks to BD for the hints and “X” – please maintain this level of difficulty.

  15. Well I found that really challenging today! I can’t say I enjoyed it but I did have a favourite clue 5a, as for 15a is Russian accepted now?? obviously my education was lacking because I’d never heard of 18a or 16d, no definitely not one for me today, I am off to paint my horse perhaps I’ll have more joy with that! Good luck everyone a toughie IMHO especially for a Saturday

    1. Only if the horse does not move around too much. Does the RSPCA know of your unusual hobby?

    2. Mary – what medium are you using for your painting? I have been taking paint fusion classes – which are based on the Donna Dewberry style of one brush painting – lots of fun but it’s flowers more than anything else.

      1. that sounds good Lea we are using water based oils and acrylics, I prefer the oils, the class is taking in a bit of everything, pointalism last week, it is supposed to be a beginners class but my friend and I think we are the only real beginners there, such fun, as Miranda would say :-)

        1. Not tried water based oils – may have to get to that but am enjoying the acrylics. I am not an artist but enjoying the learning process. Is the teacher able to cope with mixed abilities or does it mean you get left behind. The class I go to she is able to cope with all standards and that helps.

          1. Now she realises we are not much good she does take more time, we were getting left behind as she assumed we knew lots of stuff, my friend gets really disheartened sometimes

            1. I would have thought that pointillism, although the idea behind it is very basic, is hardly a subject for beginners. It’s an interesting thought that pointillism is the forerunner of digital photography, just as classical art was for analogue.

              1. I knew I’d spelt it wrong, that really is interesting Dave, next week we have to submit a piece for our folio!!

              2. Some of the rubber stamps that I use for scenic images are produced using the pointilism technique of dots and the result is amazing but not something that I would put as easy.

                  1. Nope – use “cheating methods” for producing results but I enjoy it. By the “cheating method” I mean that I use rubber stamps as the basis and then use various colouring medium to produce results. Up until I started the one brush my favourite was watercolouring. Can’t draw worth a darn so have to use other means. How about you? I would say you are getting quite artistic – with your music and now with your painting.

                    1. I can draw sort of! so don’t ‘cheat’ as such but very much a beginner, in everything, flute, art, crosswords, I have taken them all up because various physical problems mean I can’t do all the physical stuff like squash, badminton, ballroom dancing, walking (I can do flat walking but it’s not very flat around here!!) etc. etc. so I am a bit late starting these other ‘activities’

                    2. Should have said can’t do them any more! anyway I am enjoying the ‘substitues’
                      Off now to toot the flute once more, see you all later :-)

                    3. They sound like good substitutes and I have been told that with practice you get better. Sorry to hear about the curbing physical activities but I think that often comes to all of us. I haven’t done any of the impact sports for years but am now at the ladies gym and enjoying it. It starts my day.

            2. In my paint fusion class there is a lady who gets a bit disheartened but the teacher then gets her doing something different and her confidence returns.

    3. Mary, I’m with you, needed all my electronic aids today and still not sure of 22d, is there really such a word? Please DT no more of these challenging ones on a a saturday, save them for he Toughie. Any space in the darkened room?

  16. How come no-one else is struggling with 26a? I’ve got 13a and 22d with not trouble but I’m completely lost with 26a. Help please!!!

    1. 26a Be inflamed with passion after ruthless interrogation producing most serious injury (5-6,4)

      A form of serious injury comes from putting a word (4) meaning be inflamed with passion after a phrase (5-6) that describes a form of ruthless interrogation.

    2. Hi Caroline you are looing for a serious injury the type you might get if involved in a fire, you want a two word term for ‘ruthless investigation’ followed by a word for ‘be inflamed’

  17. Very enjoyable puzzle today! Thanks to the Setter! Managed it completely unaided for once.

    I’ve read the hint but I am still confused about 1d.

    Vermin, I understand but – a two-letter word meaning “turned”??? Help!

          1. Thanks BD. 1d – I finally understand. For over xx years I’ve spelt the “hard skin remover” with an “o”. O Dear!

  18. I’m giving up. This puzzle is too hard for me and very unenjoyable (if there is such a word). I really don’t see the point in setting a puzzle that average folk can’t do – ev en using the hints of experts.

      1. About half, Mary, and some of them have hints from the experts and I can’t even understand them. Look at it this way, there are 3 rugby matches on the TV and there’s an (un)enjoyable Telegraph crossword. Which would choose?

      2. I’m glad it’s not just me. Still can’t get 13a and 26a, 22d and
        several others. Now I walk away and come back later hoping
        for enlightenment!

          1. Thanks Mary. I’d read them but couldn’t see them. Went away, came back and all fell into place
            but can’t see how my word fits in 5a. I’ve earned a cuppa!

  19. I had to really work at this.Got stuck in the south and it wasn’t until 26a finally dawned that I could finish it. In total agreement withe everyone regarding 22d. Didn’t help me thinking the last letter of 26a was a T.
    We do need these at times to give us a perspective. We would all be complaining if we had beat 4 1/2 minutes or whatever.
    Thanks to you all for the inspiring chat, BD and the setter.

  20. And today we have ‘privy’ in 22d – I wish these setters would stop taking the mickey! Anyway, all back to normal in the pommers houshold this morning, in fact, ICFS, as the English speaking diplomats say in New Delhi!

    Enjoyed this one a lot even if a bit tricky in places.

    Thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. I hardly dare ask but what is ICFS – if it’s “too much information” I really don’t want to know!!! :smile:

  21. 25a & 22d have me stumped. I am going to get another glass of inspiration and try to think of a reason why I haven’t cleaned the drive.

    1. Being a child of the 1950s when you had to eat everything on your plate or else, I have terrible memories of sitting in front of said fish in tomator sauce on toast. Wouldn’t go near one with a bargepole now, never mind tag it!

      1. Ah Sue. I remember those days, sitting at the dinner table for 3 hours because I wouldn’t eat my overcooked greens. I did go back to 1a as I got older. These days it’s the cats Christmas present!

        1. Me too, the only thing I didn’t like with Sunday dinner was soaked peas, but I had to sit there until they were all gone, I liked every other veg, one of my brothers who didn’t like any veg except said peas, only got those on his plate and didn’t have to eat any other veg, so unfair!!

      2. Used to love tinned 1a – lunch would be half an onion chopped with raw white cabbage and a tin of fish on top!

  22. Hi folks, my first posting, but a frequent and appreciative visitor :)
    As many others, I struggle with this one but thanks to hints inly one to go (and seemingly the only person to have problems with it :(
    9d ??? any hint would be welcome.

    1. Hi luapsnoki – welcome to the blog.
      9d Drinks consumed by old king leading to breakdown (8)
      Put a verb meaning drinks (like a dog, say) inside a merry old king.

  23. A rather tougher puzzle this Saturday.
    Faves : 11a, 12a, 15a, 20a,1d, 8d, 9d, 19d, 21d & 25d.

    Grey skies and lots of rain here today.

  24. Finished now. Once the penny dropped on 25a, 22d fell into place!
    I think it’s the wrong sort of leaves on the drive…….. no wont work, better do it.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend



  25. Found this very challenging but also very enjoyable with some very clever clues. Can’t believe my last one in was 11a and it’s something I love. I found the top right hand corner my stumbling block to-day ,but to use Mary’s word I persevated. Thanks to Mystereron & BD.

    1. Annidrum – it is nice to know I wasn’t the only with problems in that corner – everyone else seems to be in ther south corners. Well done for getting there.

    1. 5a Charm bracelet finally after a cross (6)

      The definition is a charm. Take the A from the clue a cross (as in a hybrid animal) and the final letter of bracelet.

    2. The answer is a charm made up of bracelet finally which is the ‘t’ coming after a cross which is,, a plus the next four letters which is a crossbreed animal!!

    3. Hi Collwobbles – a (then an animal being a cross) and final letter of bracelet. Not a well constructed clue I think.

  26. Lots of comments today. I thought this was a rather clumsy puzzle with some ropey clues – notably 22d and 25d. My favourite was 20a. Nice to get it done but overall rather forgettable.

      1. It is two different soldiers that’s why. The British abbreviation for those soldiers who aren’t officers and then the handy abbreviation for the American soldier.

  27. Yes, Mary – unless we are both missing something?! Perhaps I need an early glass of wine?

    1. 17d a description of how you will be after you finish this puzzle is simply the two letter abbreviation for the European Community followed by a word meaning stationary, still.

      18a is a proofreaders mark is simply obtained by following a word meaning to mind or pay attention to with T for time.

      1. Thank you so much!! Yes I am !! Never heard of 18a Thx again Hope next week’s puzzle is easier!!

    1. I was quite pleased to score a ton yesterday – looks like you’re heading for a double century! Keep ’em coming !!

    2. I think people know when you are out! I expect there will be a riot again when we are in London next week :D

  28. Finished at last. Very difficult for me today, needed lots of help from Big Dave & all the other bloggers. Quite enjoyable with lots of eureka moments.

  29. I have never seen the number of comments exceed 200 before – brilliant but it’s just taken me ages just to skim through – ie a VERY quick look to see if there was anything new since I was “here” earlier. If I sit here any longer husband will have cooked supper …… ! :grin:

    1. It has happened twice before. Another of the Mysteron’s crosswords (again a tricky one) generated 234 comments.

      1. OK Prolixic and Big Dave – for the second time today I give in!! Sleep well all – I think we deserve it!

  30. Very late start today, and I agree with the others on toughness. I quite enjoyed 13a, 26a & 28a.

  31. Thanks to the Mysteron & to.Big Dave for the hints.Got stuck in the SE corner, needed a couple of hints, then got the rest from the blog .a very entertaining puzzle. Congratulations to Big Dave on the website reaching the 5 million, I’ll bet it will be 6 million soon, it’s starting to take longer reading the blog than doing the puzzle ! Keep up the good work.

    1. Forgot to say that 21d made me laugh as I couldn’t get it from the pictures, even though I’ve been to Keswick many times, penny finally dropped when I read the comments.Favourites were 1&5 across.

    1. Well now its 226! This is obviously a really popular site, deservedly. I so wish I could make time to do the puzzle on a Saturday so that I could join in the conversation at the time – maybe I should have a belated resolution for 2012. Getting through it now, done all but the north-east corner. I thought 22d was quite clever, misdirecting you to the toilet! Thanks for hints BD.

  32. I’ve been enjoying reading all the comments, and of course reading the hints and tips, for a few months, but this is my first post.

    A tricky puzzle, had to sleep on it before Mrs G and I attacked it again today. Still not certian where the front of 21d and the whole of 22d came from but, the answers feel right.

    Thanks to BD for the site, and to the others for your clever hints, a dullard like me couldn’t do it without you!

    1. Welcome to the blog Glyndwr

      21d is a word meaning experienced or suffered, perhaps experienced an operation in hospital, without the first two letters, which are the acronym for the world’s peacekeepers, set up after WWII.

      22d is an adjective meaning emptier or more stupid and it is derived by putting A(rea) inside an adjective meaning privy or private as in one’s private conscience.

  33. Only just got round to doing this Cw rather busy weekend, really enjoyed it but got stuck on 22a and couldn’t work it out then realised I was trying to work it out as (3-4) and not as it should be (4-3) what a numpty !!. :D

  34. I expect most of you have either finished long ago or moved on by now, but having first flown across Europe on Saturday then across the Atlantic on Sunday to greet my newborn grandson, am suffering from a mixture of excitement & jet lag, Just in case anyone is still peeking at this blog could do with hints for 15 & 18a. I expect the answers are obvious (to anyone having had the requisite amount of sleep in order for the brain to function) since no-one else seems to have had a problem with them. I could use the letter hints but that takes away from the achievement of finally finishing so any hints readily welcomed.

    1. 15a Russian’s agreement to take tea in his house

      Take the Russian word for yes and add a word mean tea to give a word for a type of Russian house.

      1. Thanks Prolixic, speak French & little Greek but have no knowledge of Russian so even with the middle 3 letters (which I guessed) wouldn’t have got 15a. Had correct answer for 18a, should have Googled it I suppose, but thanks for help .

    2. 18a Sign of proofreader having attention to detail before time (5)

      The answer is a proofreader’s sign. Take a ward meaning attention to detail and follow this with the usual abbreviation for time to get the answer.

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