DT 26772 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26772

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26772

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Love him or hate him, Ray T makes a speedy return to the back page. I have based the difficulty on my personal solving time, but feel free to disagree.

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    Beef perhaps about certain chaps’ size (11)
{MEASUREMENT} – put the foodstuff of which beef is an example around a word meaning certain and some chaps to get a size or dimension

9a    Man in charge in advance? (7)
{OFFICER} – the abbreviation of in charge inside verb meaning to advance or put forwad to get the man in charge of advancing soldiers

10a    Free to follow a relative (6)
{AUNTIE} – put a word meaning to free after A from the clue to get a female relative

12a    Bites back endless pain from plant (7)
{SPINACH} – reverse a verb meaning bites and follow it with a pain without the final E (endless) to get a plant

13a    Bottle is more shaken, hard to open (7)
{HEROISM} – this word for bottle or bravery comes from an anagram (shaken) of IS MORE preceded by (to open) H(ard)

14a    Rough start to deep sea vessel (5)
{DRAFT} – to get a rough or outline the initial letter of (start to) Deep is followed by a sea vessel like the Kon-Tiki

15a    Nag for chores with ear bent (9)
{RACEHORSE} – this animal, often referred to as a nag, comes from an anagram (bent) of CHORES with EAR

17a    Pore over skirt getting forward? (9)
{READDRESS} – a charade of a verb meaning to pore over and a skirt gives a word meaning to forward letters

20a    Dummy American on swamp (5)
{BOGUS} – an adjective meaning dummy or counterfeit is generated by putting an abbreviation for American after a swamp

22a    Miss embracing good man left cuddled (7)
{NESTLED} – put a word meaning to miss or lack around the usual good man and L(eft) to get a verb meaning cuddled

24a    Opposition leader helping after speech (7)
{ORATION} – the initial letter (leader) of Opposition is followed by a helping to get a speech

25a    Smokes, taking in very female contours (6)
{CURVES} – put a verb meaning smokes, as in smokes fish, around V(ery) to get these female contours

26a    Enveloping Bambi, entangled inside (7)
{AMBIENT} – an adjective meaning enveloping or going round is hidden inside the clue

27a    Conventional Tory with deepest constituents (11)
{STEREOTYPED} – this adjective meaning conventional is derived from an anagram (constituents) of TORY with DEEPEST


2d           Charm with fondness losing head (7)
{ENCHANT} – a verb meaning to charm is created by dropping the initial P (headless) from fondness or liking

3d           Caught in rug, share out fleece (9)
{SURCHARGE] – put C(aught) inside an anagram (out) of RUG SHARE to get a verb meaning to fleece or extort – certain airlines do this!

4d           Fish from bistro, a chub (5)
{ROACH} – this silvery freshwater fish of the carp family is hidden inside (from) the clue

5d           Second number by playful Queen? (7)
{MONARCH} – a charade of a short period of time (2), N(umber) and an adjective meaning playful (Chambers gives mischievous, playful, mysterious, cunning, and sly as synonyms) gives a Queen (or King!)

6d           More curious about one getting more rowdy (7)
{NOISIER} – put an adjective meaning more curious around (about) I (one) to get a different adjective meaning more rowdy

7d           Judging criminal gang taking bank (11)
{CONSIDERING} – this verb meaning judging or thinking  is created by putting the usual criminal and a gang around a bank or verge

8d           Initially, aged family relative is controlled, almost continent (6)
{AFRICA} – the initial letters of six words in the clue give a continent that has nothing whatsoever to do with bladder movements!

11d         Tempo’s in a mess penning Queen parody (11)
{IMPERSONATE} – start with an anagram (mess) of TEMPO’S IN A and put it around (penning) the Queen’s cypher to get a verb meaning to  parody

16d         Traditional copper on street leading old girl (9)
{CUSTOMARY} – this word meaning traditional is a charade of the chemical symbol for copper, the abbreviation of ST(reet), O(ld) and the name of everyone’s favourite commenter

18d         A sailor reported for charge (7)
{ASSAULT} –A from the clue with what sounds like a sailor gives a charge or attack

19d         Supply of French foie gras? (7)
{DELIVER} – this verb meaning to supply is a charade of the French word for “of” followed by the constituent  of foie gras

20d         Move slowly under ends of brier bush (7)
{BRAMBLE} – put a verb meaning to move slowly after (under in a down clue) the outside letters (ends) of BrieR to get a prickly bush

21d         Something which snaps say, around top of instep (6)
{GAITER} – what sounds like (say) a creature that snaps is placed around the initial letter (top) of Instep to get a covering for the lower leg and ankle, fitting over the upper of the shoe

23d         Girl’s company may be sought here (5)
{DISCO} – a charade of a girl’s name, the S from ‘S and the abbreviation of CO(mpany) gives where you might meet said girl

How long will it take you to learn the words?
ARVE Error: need id and provider

That your lot for today!

The Quick crossword pun: {talk} + {armada} = {Torquemada}

129 comments on “DT 26772

  1. I’m definitely in the “love him” camp so was absolutely delighted to have a Ray T puzzle for the second Thursday in a row. The one that held me up the longest was 21d. Quite a few that made me laugh. Not just the usual reference to Queen but two today! The clues that I enjoyed most include 1 and 25a and 4, 8, 19, 20 and 23d. It will be interesting to see what others make of today’s – I thought that it was easier than lots of his can be. With thanks to Ray T and BD.

  2. At one point I thought this was 1-star difficulty, but the amount of time I spent on 21d (my last in), pushed it up to a 3-star.
    Favourite clues 18d, and 19d.
    Thanks to RayT, and BD.

              1. For two reasons – firstly it will make Skempie’s comment impossible to understand and secondly if I delete your request after changing the comment all subsequent nested comments will become orphaned (don’t ask why, it’s just the way WordPress works).

            1. No, honestly, I’m seeking peoples view of their rating of the puzzle so that I can assess whether I will be able to complete it, and I really mean it

              1. In that case you should address your question to more than one person and probably someone less biased against the works of Mr T.

          1. I think you’re all being VERY wicked and uncharitable and you should all be sent straight to the naughty corner with no cake – you should probably stay there for the rest of the week!! :grin:

                  1. Sorry, the lemon sponge, with lemon curd and lemon butter icing and lemon icing on top which I brought into the office this morning all disappeared within 45 minutes so you will have to suffer without cake :D

  3. Tricky offering from Ray T today, got me stumped on a couple for quite a while – requiring TWO cups of coffee AND a visit to the little crossword solvers room (stopped me getting distracted by the cricket). My two favourites this morning have to be 3D and 21D, which were my last two in and both gave me a D’Oh moment.

    Like the way we got two references to Queen today.

  4. Good morning dave, I wasn’t sure if this was a RayT or not today, however although it was relatively easy for one of his puzzles I just can’t get to like them, I often find the readings don’t make sense and some of the synonyms are quite tenuous, eg fleece = surcharge, dress = skirt, parody = impersonate, however this is just a personal opinion and I am aware how much others really enjoy them and as I’ve said before, if only I could write a crossword like this :-) , it’s all personal, I love Rufus crosswords but I know others find these not to their liking or difficult, I do however have a favourite clue today 19d, hate the stuff!

    1. Mary I’m 100% with you on RayT and tenuousness, also meanings and phrases last seen in the days of Conan Doyle. Though that said it always gives me great pleasure to finish one of his puzzles without resorting to our excellent bloggers hints

  5. Finished relatively quickly today but perhaps as well since the paintpot is beckoning in the unfinished spare bedroom. Last entry was 7d. Not totally happy with the interpretation of ‘need’ in 22a though did get the solution. Perhaps, like the skirtingboard, I’ll gloss over this one! Enjoyed 17a, 25a and 2d.

  6. Thought I was doing so well getting through this, then got stuck in the NE corner. Wasn’t until I clocked that the relative was the BBC spelling….. then the rest fell into place. Really enjoyed this today. Liked 12a, 20a and 16d. Off to try the Toughie. Thanks to Big Dave for the hints and tips.

      1. I tend to find the Toughies live up to their name! But I love the challenge and know if I get really stuck this Blog will point me in the right direction…. That’s what makes it so much fun :-)

    1. 21d – it sounds like a shortening for a snappy creature (not a croc but the other one) with “i” (top of instep) and the definition is something a game keeper might wear. This one took me for ever.

  7. One of Ray T’s easier puzzles, but very enjoyable I thought. A lot easier than Tuesday’s for example. As somebody has already said, two Queen references, but a bit short on double entendres!

  8. I’ve come back to this several times this morning and still can’t get 21d either. Will have another think before the down hints. Thank BD and the setter

    1. Esprit,
      Your comment had to be moderated because your email address differs from the one you used yesterday (I suspect you mistyped yesterday’s). You should be ok from now on.

    2. Like everyone else I needed help from this blog to get 21d but when I had it I thought it was an excellent clue. Unlike everyone else 17a flummoxed be. I had the answer and have only just now figured it out. The puzzles seem to be getting easier since Tuesday this week, instead of harder as they usually do. Perhaps tomorrows will be a doddle.

        1. Happy to see you guys (meaning men and women over here because I don’t know which you are) got to run with the ball or not as the case may be. I don’t know who it was but it was fairly easy for a Thursday. Am I breaking the rules by talking about tomorrow’s puzzle today?

  9. Hi Dave, although I got 21d straight away, isn’t it only half a clue really or is it an all in one, I’m never sure with this type?

    1. Mary, I would say that it is an &Lit/All-in-one. The full sentence provides the wordplay (Say indicating the homphone for the GATOR/GATER placed outside the top/first letter of the word I(nstep). Reading the whole sentence creates the definition as the gaiter has popper studs that snap into place.

  10. As usual with Ray T I can either see the plot immediately on not, today’s was a ‘not’ thanks for the review Dave, I needed most of it and Ray T for the puzzle, I’m with Mary on the likeability stakes

  11. Having struggled a bit with crosswords this week (for various personal reasons), I was delighted to find this deliccious Ray T this morning. I did like 21d which I got quite early on. Agree with BD star ratiings. Thanks to him for the hints and Ray T for the great start to Thursday morning.

    I am apparently in the minority of those I have canvassed so far, but I found today’s Petitjean much more straightforward than the Tuesday backpager which was apparently his work. It is a toughie but worth a try by all.

    1. I think that I was scared off Petitjean puzzles for life by Tuesday’s backpager – that nearly finished me off and it wasn’t even a toughie. Might have a quick look at it later – perhaps with one eye shut?

      1. Gnomey will tell you it’s all in the hat. Try 23a, 25a,7d 22d which are amongst the easier clues and may help you get others.

        1. Thanks for the encouragement. I take it all back! It’s very cold and pouring with rain here so thought I’d have a quick look and have not done too badly for a first run through – done a couple of the ones you mentioned and quite a few others too – will keep going and wait for the hints which I know I’m going to need.

            1. Didn’t finish it but did well over half before giving in and looking at the hints – even after reading the hints there are a few that I still don’t quite understand but think the brain has had enough for today!! Did you look at it?

  12. At first glance I thought it was going to be difficult but once I got started it all fell into place. 2* for difficulty but4* for enjoyment.

  13. Most enjoyable. Thanks to Ray T & to BD. If the toughies proves problematic then I can recommend Araucaria’s themed puzzle over in the Grauniad.

    1. After 2 1/2 years I am still in the ‘mindframe’ of feeling chuffed to have finished a puzzle, attempting two, is normally too much for me :-) ( although I have tried on a few occasions)

      1. But look how far you have got in that 2 1/2 years. You can finish them, give hints and write clues too! Spare a thought for those of us who were shown how to do a DT cryptic by a fellow commuter over 40 years ago and then he retired so I was left on my own to work them all out. I say that I wish there had been this blog when I was a beginner but of course we were still in the relatively dark ages of technology then.

        1. That is why you are so good sue, you have had to rely mostly on your own capabilities, I am years away from being at your level :-)

  14. It shows how different we all are. I struggled with yesterday – eveyone else found it easy. I sailed through todays – not a record, but a steady enjoyable stroll. I like Ray T, but then I like most of the setters- they all have their quirks, but wouldn’t it be boring if we all did the crossword in 10 or 20 minutes. Mind you, I’m saying that a a recently retired person. Sometimes I only had my lunch 10 minutes! Thanks to all.

    1. My aim is usually under 3 hours captain! 10 or 20 minutes? not now not never or should that be ever! :-D

        1. I have been doing the crossword for nearly 40 years. Only twice have I ever done sub 10 minutes. It quite ruined the rest of the day! My ambition was also to finish it and sometimes it took me days! But wouldn’t it be boring if we did all finish it easily. As I say, I’ve recently retired (a couple of weeks) and I haven’t got used to the time I have. Need to get to the pub more! lol

        2. CL – I’ve been retired for 5 years and frankly I don’t know where the time goes or how I ever found time to work. To quote a line from Lionel in As Time Goes By, “I am learning to do nothing, and doing it slowly.”

  15. Many thanks to RayT, a fairly easy crossword today but extremely enjoyable. Thanks BD for the review/hints.

  16. Thanks to Ray T for the puzzle & to Big Dave for the review and hints. I agree with Dave on 2* difficulty. I thought it was going to be harder at first, but after a bit of thought, everything fell into place. Usual good stuff from Ray T. Favourites were all at the bottom of the puzzle, 25,26,27a & 20,21,23d. Last in was 21d.

  17. Enjoyed this one from Ray.
    Faves : 12a, 13a, 17a, 25a, 2d, 7d, 19d & 21d.

    Steak and onions tonight for dinner washed down with upper Loire red wine and followed by blueberries and cream.

    Weather here is gray and wet – managed to get to the supermarket in a dry spell!

  18. Excellent XWord today, thought 21d was brilliant but not that keen on 7d. Thanx to compiler and BD for the review.

  19. RayT at his best. A good puzzle with so many different types of clue, of which 17 and 21 were the best. Thanks a lot, Ray – why can’t we have you every week?

  20. Much like Jezza it was only 21d that caused a pause – I would normally spell the snapper with an O not an E I suppose – I plumped for the answer after much thought.
    A fine puzzle from RayT that really should be accessible to all. Thanks to him and to BD for the review

      1. Aha! – Not the usual ‘definition by example’ use of say then but an actual homophone. As usual my mistake!. Thanks for that and to the Nudgee (who I suspect set the crossword!

        1. I realized the ‘say’ was a homophone indicator straight away, but thought it seemed like half a clue,until I read your comment above , its amazing the way we all read clues differently

  21. Romped through the right hand side but was held up on left side because it took me forever to see 7d. I didn’t like 17a and last one in was 21d. Enjoyed the puzzle all the same . Thanks to Ray T and BD.

  22. Brill puzzle! Either RayT is getting easier or I’m getting on the wavelength as this was a ‘stroll in the park’ for pommette and I.(didn’t BD say something similar a few months ago?).

    Favourite 12a for the slight misdirection – I know soinach is a plant but you usually think ‘vegetable’ – nice one Ray!

    Thanks to RayT and to BD for the amusing review.

  23. BTW, sorry for disappearing from the blog yesterday but I was at our apartment from about 4 o’clock and internet access via our dongle is a bit hit-and-miss there. After about 1800CET it was a complete miss!

  24. Evening all. Thanks to BD for his usual lucid explanations, and to all who commented. I’m glad that most of you enjoyed it.


  25. Thanks Ray. Very nice puzzle marginally easier than yesterday’s so 2* for difficulty. 21d was a tad weak if I am being over critical. Very enjoyable.

  26. Second timer. I found it slightly harder than yesterday’s. I also got stuck on 21d, but got it thanks to Big Dave (definitely BD today).

    1. Hi Ainsley, have you been absent for a while or have I just been missing your posts? What happened to the ‘after- eighters’?

  27. I left 21d unanswered despite using all manner of cheating! Thanks to BD for revealing all.

    On that subject, I thought that the recent photo of Sophia Loren would have been much appreciated (again) for the “Curves” clue!

    Thanks to RayT for today’s entertainment!

              1. My Father told me that no woman is unattractive, but some are more attractive than others :-)

  28. All done, but I do enjoy reading the review and everyone’s comments. 21d was the last one in and for some reason it came into my head the moment Kirstie Allsop appeared on the telly. Paging Dr Freud!

  29. See how late I am! I had to do this in several sessions today — and my concentration was shot to pieces. The car had to go to the garage and then be collected, and I spent some time glued to the Nadal-Federer match at the Aussie Open. However, I did finish it and enjoyed it, though I found it quite difficult — probably because my mind was elsewhere. Anyway, thanks to Ray T (I’m a fan) and to BD for the explanations.

  30. The hint to 16d mentions – “….everyone’s favourite commenter.”

    OK, maybe, we don’t all agree with Brian’s comments – but he does make it a lot more interesting!

  31. Last week’s Ray T saw a dismal performance on my part – about 10 answers in, I completely hit a brick wall, and had to resort to the hints.
    This week I did a lot better and got to the end without any help, not that there was any help at 37,000 feet!
    SW corner held me up a little bit – 17a and 25a I scribbled in without being quite sure of the logic behind the answer, so many thanks to BD for the clarifications.
    Great puzzle, I thought… :)

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