DT 26769 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26769

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26769

Hints and tips by Digby

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Libellule is taking several weeks off from blogging as his wife is in hospital having a a major operation.  We all wish her well and hope she has a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile, Digby has stepped up to the plate and will be here for at least the next few Mondays.  BD

Thanks for all your messages of support on Friday. Having had the weekend to recover here we go again, this time with a Rufus.

The observant ones amongst you might have noticed that my Gravatar (the picture over there >>>) has changed recently to a Buccaneer coming towards you at about 600mph. It’s the jet that Rufus (almost) and I used to fly from aircraft carriers, so it’s a real treat to be able to review one of his puzzles. His crosswords always provide a mixture of challenge and amusement, and this one is no exception – how does he manage to keep up the standard time after time?

Maybe getting up early meant that my brain wasn’t quite in gear, but I found one or two clues a little tenuous – but what do you think?

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           He has nothing new to offer (7,6)
{ANTIQUE DEALER} This trader buys and sells the sort of treasures you hope to find in your attic one day.

10a         We hear Cockney bloke’s going to relax (4,3)
{EASE OFF} Say out loud, in Cockney, “The chap is leaving” and it sounds like a verb meaning to moderate your approach.

11a         His enemies got fatally jarred (3,4)
{ALI BABA} I always think of laundry baskets, rather than jars, when picturing this mythical character, though in fact he did for most of his two-score victims by pouring boiling oil over them in jars.

12a         They’re not static water towers (4)
{TUGS} Mild deception here, as these towers are vessels that pull things.

13a         Canine tooth one has right in the centre (5)
{CORGI} Déjà vu or what? This word popped up on Saturday, and this time it is clued by taking the tooth of a gearwheel, I (one) and inserting R(ight) in the middle to arrive at our familiar little dog.

14a         In the course of a lacklustre comeback (4)
{AMID} This word is defined in the first 4 words of the clue, and constructed by A followed by the opposite to lack-lustre (or “a bit thick”) reversed.

17a         Cast rugby player in Shakespeare part (7)
{SHYLOCK} Beware ladies, but this is the sporting clue. Combine cast, as in throw, with the player wearing the No 4 or 5 shirt and we get this well-known moneylender.

18a         Sauce label for company (7)
{TABASCO} Break this piquant sauce down into label (3), a two-letter word meaning for and the abbreviation for company (2)

19a         Possibly insures a regular start to the day (7)
{SUNRISE} Here’s our first anagram (possibly) of INSURES which produces the official start of day (though sadly not always in evidence)

22a         It is used for duplicating clients’ letters (7)
{STENCIL} Just like buses we have another anagram, using the letters of CLIENTS to make something used to draw a copy.

24a         Trial run in theatre (4)
{HEAT} One of the preliminary races at an athletics event is hidden in the final word of the clue.

25a         Infant beginning to learn confused sounds (5)
{BABEL} An infant in arms plus L(earn) gives a word meaning a brouhaha of noise. I usually spell this word with an extra consonant in the middle, but this version is also acceptable.

26a         Vegetable initially served before sweet (4)
{SPUD} Probably the most common – and versatile – vegetable is often couched as S(erved) initially and  a term for dessert (abbreviated)

29a         You might be if a plan goes wrong (2,1,4)
{IN A FLAP} An anagram (goes wrong) of IF A PLAN results in what you could be if it does (go wrong, that is)

30a         Incorrect in angle? (7)
{LEANING} A trademark Rufus clue IMHO. Another anagram (incorrect) of IN ANGLE gives us a wording meaning something that that was meant to be perpendicular being a few degrees out.

31a         Showing signs of fight? (6-7)
{BATTLE-SCARRED} Cryptic definition of how one might look after having been in the wars


2d           Flowers, say, gone astray (7)
{NOSEGAY} Another one for all you anagram fans – SAY GONE (astray) combines to create this small bunch of flowers.

3d           Image of swindler admitting his crime? (4)
{ICON} An image, often religious, is painted by an expression (1,3) of how  a swindler might describe his job.

4d           Give the sack to a priest, outcome of fun and beat music? (7)
{UNFROCK} This term applies to what the Church does to priests who have been very naughty. An anagram (outcome) of FUN followed by the first R of R&R music.

5d           Checker of drawing (7)
{DRAUGHT} Double definition – a counter in a well-known board game, and the (alternative spelling?) of the initial sketch of a painting. See Comment #33 below – I was a bit unsure of my hint, and have now been corrected by “The Horse’s Mouth”   (Rufus)             I intended DRAUGHT to mean “the act of drawing” (e.g. a draught horse) – the first definition in Chambers. It doesn’t get any more credible than that!

6d           Dry fresh air before break of day (4)
{ARID} A word meaning dry, as in desert, is built from an anagram (fresh) of AIR, followed by the start (break) of D(ay)

7d           Scholar finding sums are uplifting (7)
{ERASMUS} To find this eminent Dutch theologian simply reverse (uplift) the 2 words preceding the indicator. (I suppose it’s also an anagram, but we’ve already had quite a lot of them)

8d           One may be orally examined in it (8,5)
{DENTISTS CHAIR} Where you sit hoping to find out that you don’t need any more fillings.

9d           Callous urge one may get at a picnic (4-6,3)
{HARD-BOILED EGG} A 2-word synonym for callous, followed by one for urge (as in encourage) and make what we British historically have always taken on picnics. (Remind me to tell you a funny story about this if we ever meet!)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d         Doctor introduces contest to provide entertainment (5)
{MOVIE} A standard abbreviation for Doctor (usually the military variety) and a verb meaning contest combine to make this type of entertainment.

16d         Instruments of love in high orders (5)
{OBOES} Our honours system includes the MBE, but you need the next highest awards, with O (love) in the middle, to find these woodwind instruments.

20d         A river once more rises and falls (7)
{NIAGARA} Not many to go, so this one could be my Clue of the Day. A reversal (rises in a Down clue) of A, R(iver) and a word for once more, and we arrive at this well-known water feature. Nice surface!

21d         For instance, test papers looked easy initially (7)
{EXAMPLE} I started off from the wrong place with this one, wanting to begin with EG. Not so fast – that’s the answer. Take an abbreviation for a test, and the initial letters of papers looked easy. Nice deception, Roger!

22d         The woman repeatedly left bill for coat (7)
{SHELLAC} Combine the female pronoun, L(eft) x 2 (repeatedly) and the usual abbreviation for a bill. This coat isn’t worn.

23d         Prisoner’s madly active, but quiet inside (7)
{CAPTIVE} Just one more anagram (madly) of ACTIVE with P (musically quiet) inserted (inside) describes a prisoner’s situation.

27d         Plan shows parking place (4)
{PLOT} Combine P(arking) and a word for a (parking) place to derive a synonym for plan. Not sure about this one – my Big Red Book doesn’t list the synonym, but it just about works, I suppose.

28d         Just not enough to gain a distinction (4)
{FAIR} Double definition of a word meaning just, as in proper, and something that is only average.

Altogether a pleasant start to a new crossword week, with the twinkle in Rufus’s eye ever-present. One or two of the 4-letter  clues had me reaching for Big Dave’s help for a sanity check, but overall I enjoyed it.  How about you?

The Quick crossword pun: {bawls} + {sapphire} = {balls of fire}

100 comments on “DT 26769

  1. Thanks Digby, was really stuck on 15d as I didn’t think of using the military abbreviation for doctor.

  2. A pleasant enough puzzle, with no particular favourites. I thought that 8d was a little weak, as it was fairly obvious it could not be anything else.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Digby. A minor typo in the hint to 4d (FUN).

    With best wishes to Libellule’s wife.

  3. Enjoyed this one today – a nice start to the week! Thanks to Rufus and Digby. Best wishes to Libellule’s wife for a speedy recovery.

    1. I have a rugby shirt with No 5 on the back which is a bit odd as I’m only 5′ 8″ and weigh 64kg! I think it must have been intended for a lock in the under-12 team!

    2. Well spotted Roland. I could have sworn that, when I was at school, the Lock was #8, but that was many moons ago! Now duly amended.

      1. Hi Digby – I too am sure that #8 used to be the lock, but the number of my moons is also large…

        I thought this was a funny and clever crossword, and just the thing to raise the spirits on a Monday!

        Mind, I’ve been waiting for some younger folks to complain that only old people would know 11A…

  4. Well good morning again Digby what a surprise :-) , all best wishes to Libelulles wife for a speedy recovery,
    What a lovely puzzle from Rufus, quite cheered me up this morning, ok a few were fairly obvious but on the whole witty and clever with nearly all the clues making sense in the reading, believe it or not 9d last in for me! lots of favourite clues for me maybe 26a and 15d best hard to choose, thanks for blog Digby, really well done once again :-D

  5. An enjoyable start to the week, especially after Saturday’s offering. No particular problems, I did not need to use any reference books , electronic or physical, today. Thanks to Rufus and to Digby for the review.

  6. Morning Digby, I see the boss is keeping your nose to the grindstone! (I like the gravatar BTW).

    Might not have time to do this one today so just popped in to give my best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mme Libellule. Hope all goes well.

  7. Enjoyable but not too strenuous today, although I agree that one or two of the four letter words took a little while to come through, and a couple of the clues were a bit weak. Many thanks to Rufus and to Digby for the review. Along with everyone else, I’d like to offer my best wishes to Libellule for his wife’s swift recovery.

    1. Oh sorry, did you mean synonym for ‘lot’ and ‘place’ , if so , no it doesn’t give it, but I suppose a parking lot is a parking place, so like you said it sort of works, I’ll be quiet now, too much 25a going on!!

      1. I’m all for a bit of 25a, and I struggled with the word play on this one . I think that your expalnation is correct Mary. Do you want to do the review next Monday?

  8. Another enjoyable start to the week with no real problems and a nice, easy to read puzzle. No real favourites as they were all good.

    Best wishes to Mrs Libellule for a swift recovery.

  9. Thoughts are with Libellule’s wife – hope everything works out.
    A question – why is the Rufus in Monday’s Guardian always more difficult than his offering in the DT. Just an observation that’s all.

    1. Good Old Grauniad! Today there was a typo in the clue to 19 Down. There then followed an apology and correction in the on-line version – alas the apology referred to 19 Across. Plus ça change,…………….

  10. It was all, eventually, fine but managed to really screw things up to begin with in the top right corner by confidently writing in “Ladders” for 7d! Oh dear – NOT a good start! Sorted out that slight problem and finished without any further mishaps. Didn’t have trouble with 17a even though it’s football (or rugby – don’t know) as I guessed and then looked it up. I wondered if 27d was a bit American – I think they call car parks “parking lots”? I liked 10 and 25a and 3, 9 and 28d. With thanks to Rufus and Digby and all good wishes to Libellule and Mme Libellule.

  11. My Vocabulary must be very limited as I had never heard of 2d or 22d. In racing parlance, I am still very much a ‘juvenile’ when it comes to the cryptic! Thanks for help.

  12. Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle and to Digby for the review & hints. Quite a nice gentle start for the week, went straight through this first time. Really enjoyed it, a lot of clues made me laugh, very entertaining. Favourites were 1& 17a & 9d. Overcast and mild here in Central London.

  13. Firstly best wishes to Mme Libellule and to M Libellule as he gets to grip with domesticity and patient care etc.

    Unusually for a Rufus, I took a while to get anything written in the grid and wondered whether he had upgraded his footwear :) No particular favourites – although I note that 13a is obviously the setter’s word of the moment. After the ubiquitious Agnus Dei, it is obviously word of the month. Thanks to Rufus for the nice start to Monday (and, Spindrift, the Guardian one took me slightly less time) and to Digby for the excellent review.

    1. Hi collywobs, there is a section at top of page FAQ, if you click on this and scroll down you will find the info you need

  14. Not the most taxing start to the week but very enjoyable. Thanks to Rufus and to Digby. My thoughts go out to Libellule and of course to his good lady, I wish her well for the future.

  15. Only just got round to looking at the blog for last Friday! (DT26767) – some suggestion that KINDERGARTNER (6d) may be a made up word?
    OED gives: ˈkinderˌgartener n. (also kindergärtner) a kindergarten teacher; also, a pupil at a kindergarten.

  16. What a nice Rufus puzzle. Some challenges and some interesting clues. Can’t Rufus be persuaded to do the Saturday puzzle because the last one was awful and made a bad start to the weekent. Today was superb and since I played in the second row 17a was easy

    1. Collywobbles

      I pointed out to you on Saturday that prizes are awarded for that puzzle. If it was too easy there would be no challenge.

      It would be far better if you concentrated on improving your solving skills than moaning about the compilers.

    2. Collywobbles
      I thought Saturday’s was a belter personally. We need one like that once in a while to give the grey cells a good workout. So you were a piano shifter as opposed to myself who was a piano player…

  17. Good Start to the week with the exception of 2d, which you would only know if you were green fingered. When you have all the letters and have to guess how to fill the blanks it is very annoying.

        1. just remembering ‘stuff’. I have a long standing interest in words generally – place names, odd bits of English, foreign words that have made it into English usage. I expect doing six (five on Mondays) cryptic crosswords a day as well as GK at the weekend helps too.

    1. David

      Nosegay has no more to do with being green fingered than a bouquet does. Both are words in the English language for a bunch of flowers.

      Surely one of the benefits of solving crosswords is to improve your vocabulary.

      1. I seem to remember nosegay a word common in Shakespeare. Easy from the checking letters before I realised it was an anagram

    2. I don’t think it’s anything to do with gardening ie green fingered. It’s just a word meaning a little bunch of flowers.

  18. Curses – 12a totally foxed me even with only two letters to fill me. Massive groan on reading the solution, bravo!

  19. I enjoyed this puzzle, although on reading the hints, I found a had a couple of words wrong. Had no trouble with 17a, being a Shakespeare buff and having the first and last letters — no idea what it had to do with rugby, though! At 25a I thought of the tower rather than my little grandson’s form of conversation. Favourites were 10a, 22a and 20d. Many thanks to Rufus and Digby. :-)

    I add my good wishes for Mme Libellule’s speedy recovery.

  20. Didn’t get a chance to say thanks and welcome to Digby last week, so here is a double thanks and to Rufus for today. .

    Also wishing Mme Libellule well.

    Nice Rufus puzzle to start the working week – no particular favourites.

  21. Interesting start to the week, well done Digby and thanks Rufus. Best wishes to Mme Libellule and to Libellule himself, hope all goes well.

  22. Best wishes to mrs Libellule for a speedy recovery.
    Nice start to the week from Rufus, my fav clue was 22d, it ticked all my boxes :-)
    Thx for the hints and explanations Digby.

  23. All the best for a speedy recovery to Mme Libellule.
    Thanks Digby for stepping in – you’re going to get plenty of practise, aren’t you? Today’s puzzle was fairly straightforward, with just a few clues requiring deep thought. 9d was one of the last in, which then gave me 22 & 26a. Does ‘letters’ really work as an anagrind? And I’m not sure that 31a is very cryptic, but I did like 20d – made me smile. Thanks to all involved.

    1. Rufus nearly always includes a couple of “gimmes” in his puzzles – maybe he takes pity on our “Clueless Club”, though I’m not sure if there is anyone left in there. Did you leave the lights on when you left, Mary? I agree that 31a was perhaps a case in point.

        1. By the time I found the blog the CC was pretty full, so I couldn’t get in. My loss – it sounded like it was a lovely, sociable place to visit!

          1. Having moved on from the CC,based on recent performances, I am afraid I tend now to head straight for the darkened room to be rubbed gently down with a damp copy of the DT by a nubile wench of my acquaintance. On looking at today’s puzzle, both back page & toughie, I think today will be no exception.

            1. It sounds like great fun in there spindrift – is there an access code? Seriously, though, I have days like that as well. Take a break, have a cuppa, then come back with renewed perverserance (or whatever Mary calls it!) and it often just falls into place.

  24. The ususal enjoyable start to the week from The Jolly Roger!

    Faves : 1a, 11a, 17a, 18a, 31a, 4d, 5d, 9d, 20d & 22d.

    No problem for me with 7d as I know Rotterdam well.
    9d was a good laugh.
    Many of the 4-letter clues were good.

  25. Nice puzzle. Got answer for 17a straight away but with no idea what it had to do with rugby. Always enjoy your puzzles Rufus and thanks to Digby for the hints.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mme Libellule.

  26. Just dropping in to have a look at Digby’s blog and read the comments (I do that everyday, even if I don’t comment myself). I would like to thank everyone for their good wishes for my wife. I have just returned from the hospital and can say she is feeling much better after the op. on Friday, however its too early to say anything constructive at the moment. Now where did I leave the vacuum cleaner….

      1. Yes but “un aspirateur” isn’t almost a homophone for “it’s over there”. ……… sorry Libellule, I thought it was almost like a joke…………

        1. Roland, Apologies, now I understand. Blame a tired brain, its a two hour round trip to get there and back from the hospital. Hmm I wonder if I can open a bottle of wine? .

          1. No apology necessary Libellule. I was just attempting to lighten your spirits with a fairly weak pun, but fully appreciate your mind will be on other things. As I said earlier, I hope all continues to go well.

          2. Poor you and Mme Libellule – a two hour round trip is tough, as is being on your own with all the worry. I send more good wishes, and hope that you managed to open that bottle of wine! :smile:

      2. The British appear not to like the word vacuum, preferring to call 2 domestic devices employing that effect by their trade names. Which reminds me of the chap who couldn’t go to work because he had a broken flask.

        1. Digby, I’m not sure it’s just the British because I did hear that “nature abhors a vacuum” :)

  27. Quick solve most of it in first or second look. Oddly last two in 10a and 3d. Didn’t help that I failed to notice 10a two words. I put idol first for 3d which was a bit stupid. Did not like 28d which was last one in on that side. I liked 22 both a and d. Long ones round sides good and helped. I was slowest on 1a as I was looking for someone less salubrious. Thanks to setter and reviewer and best wishes to La famille Libellule.

  28. Thanks to Digby for the review! No help to me I’m afraid – as I never buy the paper on Monday – still ploughing through the weekend forest of newsprint – and I don’t subscribe to Clued Up or Whatever it’s called.

    I did notice that your Gravatar had changed to a Buccaneer – “the jet that I and Rufus used to fly from aircraft carriers”. Flying “from” an aircraft carrier seems the easy bit – but the landing????


    1. Landings were always quite exciting, particularly at night, onto a heaving deck, in a thunderstorm. That’s when I discoverd that adrenilin is brown.

      1. A new definition of “quite exciting” for me!

        I need at least 4 Gin & Tonics (doubles) before getting into a plane!

  29. Hi Digby ! You gave me a fillip with your blog, but especially for saying I flew in Buccaneers – I was far too old!. However,at the end of my RN time I was serving in the carrier HMS Hermes when it was used for the trials of the new Buccaneer.

    I had the chance to watch them in a spare seat flying in the rescue Whirlwind helicopter. On August 31st 1961 the second catapulting took the plane into the sea. We circled the site for some time but nothing could be seen.
    I joined the Navy in 1948 as a boy seaman and my best mate was a boy from the same village. He later qualified as a diver and it was he who found the wreckage of the plane XN529 the next day with the bodies of the pilot and observer.
    I was only allowed in the slower planes – Gannets, Avengers,Skyraiders etc.

    Thanks for the excellent blog. Only comment, in 5d you give the “drawing” definition as a sketch – I intended DRAUGHT to mean “the act of drawing” (e.g. a draught horse) – the first definition in Chambers..

    Pleased to also hear from Libellule that his wife is doing well!

    1. Great to hear from you Rufus – thanks dropping in to our friendly little club. And for putting me straight on 2 counts. I did wonder if I’d missed something with 5d – it now makes perfect sense! And I’m sure that you would have graduated to Buccaneers had you not decided instead to entertain the crossword community with your great skill and humour!

    2. Thanks for the puzzle Rufus which pommette and I really enjoyed – she still talks about meeting you in Derby but hasn’t quite gone as far as putting the photo of the 2 of you under her pillow!

  30. Good evening folks. Some interesting comments today. I liked 3d and 15d was the last one in. Pleased to get this one done with minimal angst.

  31. Its been a tough twenty two years battling with this crossword, your site is a blessing, thanks!!!

  32. Did finally get time, not that it needed much. We went through the acrosses and filled in 9 and then 13 of the downs and then just sort of filled in the gaps. Easiest Rufus for a while IOHO and only 1* for us but very enjoyable all the same, and with the usual near perfect surfaces – how he does it I haven’t a clue!

    Thanks Rufus and to Digby for another excellent blog. I think I might have to raise my game on Wednesday!

  33. I often find the Monday puzzle quite tough but although today seemed a little easier to me it was no less enjoyable. Thanks to the setter, and to Digby for the help with 13a (I missed it on Saturday due to a beer festival, and as a result missed much of yesterday too). Hope Mrs Libellule is doing well.

  34. Thanks Digby, and Rufus of course. Most enjoyable puzzle which I enjoyed, but draught stymed me – I was convinde it was drafter!

    1. Hello jerseyboytoo (quite a mouthful!!) Can’t quite decipher your avatar (aircrew eyes getting tired) What is it?
      See Rufus’s comment at #33 above. 5d “did” for many of us!

Comments are closed.