DT 26775 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26775

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26775

Hints and tips by Digby

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I get to review another Monday Rufus today, while Mme. Libellule’s recuperation continues. This one was typical of what we have come to expect – light and breezy, with nothing to get heated about. Enjoy it, and let us know what 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           Pirate and girl admitting love on ship (10)
{BARBAROSSA} Construct this pirate of the Barbary Coast from a girl’s name wrapped around O (love) and the standard abbreviation for ship.

9a           Stake in a buoyant economy (4)
{ANTE} This method of betting is hidden in the last 2 words of the clue. Bit of an old chestnut.

10a         Powerless supporter of sport (4-6)
{HANG-GLIDER} An unpowered contraption with which to get airborne. Personally I’d always want at least 2 engines!

11a         Doctor goes to hospital bearing material (6)
{MOHAIR} Abbreviation for doctor (military type) H(ospital) and bearing, as in demeanour, combine to make this product of the Angora goat.

12a         Saucy girl that accompanies travellers (7)
{BAGGAGE} Rufus’s twinkling eye in evidence here – a derogatory term for a lady is also what you try to stow in the aircraft cabin.

15a         There’s a tonic in eggs scrambled around mid-morning (7)
{GINSENG} This kind of tonic, which allegedly aids certain male functions, is an anagram (scrambled) of IN EGGS around the central letter of morNing.

16a         Female cob (5)
{HAZEL} Double definition – a girl’s name and large nut.

17a         Put out — nothing is fit for the job (2,2)
{UP TO} An anagram (out) of PUT followed by O gives an expression meaning that one is capable of the task in hand.

18a         In a zoo you may see one close up (4)
{SEAL} This marine mammal may be seen at the zoo, and also means to close – an envelope, for example.

19a         Stop, giving cold comfort (5)
{CEASE} A synonym for stop is derived from C(old) and a word meaning comfort, as in soothe the pain.

21a         Lean against counter where your shoes are repaired (4,3)
{HEEL BAR} “Lean” here is what a ship does in a turn; add the counter where you might buy a pint to get the kind of outlet you find on many stations and shopping centres.

22a         A decent reform carried out (7)
{ENACTED} Here we have an anagram (reform) of A DECENT giving a verb meaning carried out.

24a         Recommend about five different ideas (6)
{ADVISE} Another anagram (different) of IDEAS around Roman five produces a synonym for recommend.

27a         Cost in cafe outrageous — get take-away (10)
{CONSFISCATE} Like buses and policemen, they come in threes. The first 3 words of the clue are the fodder (outrageous) and produce a word meaning to take away – like the teacher did to your catapult!?

28a         Vessels of the Royal Navy in America (4)
{URNS} Two standard abbreviations, the first embedded in the second, produce these (Grecian?) vessels.

29a         Deadly sin spreading round N American place of entertainment (10)
{DISNEYLAND} Another anagram (spreading) of the preceding 2 words, round “N” produces this alleged US place of entertainment.  There is another one outside Paris, in which I’m pleased not to have bought shares.


2d           A mother and father to all (4)
{ADAM} A, and a word for mother, combine to find Eve’s mate.

3d           Important person giving important lecture (6)
{BIGWIG} An expression for a VIP is made up of rhyming words for important and lecture (as in tell-off)

4d           He introduced Virginia to Elizabeth (7)
{RALEIGH} I don’t believe that this explorer ever took his monarch there, but he did bring back the leaf that many people smoke. It didn’t kill him, coming as he did to a more abrupt end.

5d           Such pomposity is not a front (4)
{SIDE} A word meaning pomposity is not at the front – or the back!

6d           High-flown writings (7)
{AIRMAIL} The kind of letter that you typically write on thin blue paper.

7d           Battle that led to union? (10)
{ENGAGEMENT} The point at which two armies confront each other is also the romantic step that usually precedes marriage.

8d           Pull leg about being found in bed that’s untidy (10)
{BEDRAGGLED} A 4-letter word for pull, followed by an anagram (about) of LEG all set inside BED make a word for untidy. Like that piece of “art” by Tracy Emin?

12d         Purchased a young animal, fleeced (6,1,3)
{BOUGHT A PUP} This expression could also work with the antonym of purchased, but in this case follow another word for this with “A” young animal. Fleeced as in “ripped-off”.

13d         Start work at the mill? (3,7)
{GET WEAVING} An expression for starting work would be what you would do if you were employed in a woollen mill.

14d         Agree to differ, being passionate (5)
{EAGER} Anagram (to differ) of AGREE = passionate

15d         Gosh! South-Eastern birds (5)
{GEESE} An American expression for gosh, followed by the relevant compass point, provide these birds for whom Christmas comes too early.

19d         Garment paid for on receipt somewhere in Massachusetts (4,3)
{CAPE COD} The kind of garment worn by Batman, and an abbreviation for a payment method produce this vacation venue in New England.

20d         Possibly see unit as part of another unit (2,5)
{EN SUITE} An anagram (possibly) of SEE UNIT is what most hotel bedrooms include nowadays.

23d         Number clean out and scrub (6)
{CANCEL} A bit of Rufus’s RN jargon coming out – to “scrub round” is Naval slang for not doing something. Take a Roman numeral followed by an anagram (out) of CLEAN to derive a word meaning to postpone indefinitely.

25d         Antelopes — their turning up is celebrated (4)
{GNUS} Another chest-nutty offering. Take an expression for celebrated, often applied to a Mass in Church, and reverse it (turning up).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26d         Be striking in best uniform (4)
{STUN} To take one’s breath away is concealed in the last 2 words of the clue.

I managed to finish this before BD was up this morning – well, he did have an exhausting weekend, and has 181 comments from Saturday’s blog to review! About 1½ for difficulty, but as enjoyable as ever. Thanks Rufus.

The Quick crossword pun: {misses} + {hippy} = {Mississippi}

62 comments on “DT 26775

  1. Felt like I was transported to a parallel universe with this today. Managed it all but had to do a bit of checking here and there. 12d was not a phrase I have heard of! Enjoyed it but it definitely left me feeling spaced out! Thanks to Rufus for the trip and thanks to Digby for the hints and tips!

      1. I had a lucky guess! – I was prepared to try ‘cub’ as an alternative if my first guess was rejected by the online site.

      2. Indeed – I was wandering round the house muttering ‘cub?’, ‘pup?’ It was my daughter who said ‘Dad! What planet are you on!!’ – I guessed pup :-)

        1. For a while I was thinking ‘well, is a ‘dud’ some kind of young animal that I’ve not heard of’, so I actually googled it to see!

  2. Nothing too tricky, although I did have 25d the wrong way up for a while, until I realised there was no U in the anagram fodder of 27a.
    Thanks to Rufus, and to Digby.

    1. At first, having completely forgotten about ‘gnus’ I opted for ‘suni’ which is a small type of deer, on reversing this and not geting any sensical answer, I convinced myself ‘suno’ must be the plural and if it was ‘celebrated’ it was ‘on us’!!!

  3. Nice & gentle start to the week. No real problems. My favs 8d & 15d. Thanks to Rufus for being gentle with me and to Digby for the explanations.

  4. Good morning Digby and thanks once again for the blog, although I didn’t need it, I found this a bit tougher than normal for Rufus today, and thought a few of the clues seemed ‘the wrong way round’ eg 25d, 19a, here I thought that the andswer was giving you the definition, if you know what I mean? I think a three star for me, my two favourite clues were 18a, last in! and 2d, simple but brilliant, also liked 13d but had never heard 12d even with the antonym, have fun everyone, I needed my ‘friends’ to help me out once again! :-D

    1. Hi Mary, I think that 19a reads logically, but I do agree that 26d could be confusing. I suppose we could have used the the Flanders & Swann clip either way!

      1. Hi Digby (although I got 19a) I read it as ‘cold comfort’ being the definition, i.e. a word for stop ‘giving’ ‘cold comfort’ not the other way round, if you see what I mean, I thought the definition had ‘to give’ the answer, I’m getting really muddled here, does anyone know what I mean?

          1. There’s a whole day’s discussion in that question, Bifield ! The purists would argue that it does matter. I think I’ll defer to the Gaffer on this one – BD?

            1. It matters to me, and to many others. As Digby says, therein lies a long debate. Can you have a word used in the clue as an adjective to define a noun? I could go on …..

              1. Please do! It’s time we had a little red book to go with the BRB – The thoughts of Chairman Big Dave, perhaps?

        1. I think that Mary’s right. If you have a verb form in the clue that implies progression from A to B (e.g. giving, producing, leading to) then strictly speaking the wordplay (A) should lead to the definition (B), not the other way round.

          1. My (wholly unqualified) opinion is that in this case “giving” is merely fodder to aid surface reading. In that case, I don’t see a problem with the clue.

  5. No probs with this today. Ref 12d, a common phrase to me, most often heard in reference to having bought (or been sold) a used car I think. Thanks to Rufus and Digby.

  6. Very enjoyable thank you Rufus. My favourites were the two d’oh moments – 16a and 18a and I did like 4d too. Thanks to Digby for an excellent review too.

  7. A three star for me I’m afraid, needed help especially with some of the more archaic terms ie. 12D Thanks to Digby!

    1. BTW, St. George, the reason why your Avatar has changed is that you typed a “4” just before the “@” in your email address.

  8. OK … so at the end of lunch … I had 9 clues (A 15,19,22,24,27,28 / D 4,12,15) before referring to this most excellent resource. Bizarrely 12D was my first, and a vauge recollection from my history lessons at school gave me 4D.

    Following your encouragement of last week, I feel that I am improving, only very slowly.

    Thank you Digby and for all who contribute.

    1. We all started very slowly Mark – as Mary would say, just ‘perservate’ and you will gradually increase the number of clues solved before you have to look at the blog.

    2. Yes Mark as sue says, keep perservating, it is well worth it, no-one started more slowly than I did a couple of years ago, but with perservation and help from this blog and all the bloggers on it, I also use my ‘friends’, you will gradually improve, there are very few days that I can solve without help in one form or another as lonf as you enjoy it keep at it :-)

  9. Good start to the week. Never heard or read 12a, more used to the shortened form. Best was 16a. Thanks to Digby & Rufus

  10. Didn’t like 3d. I’ve heard of a wigging for a lecture, but not a wig. Other than that an enjoyable and gentle start to the week. Thanks to Digby and Rufus. (I think someone should tell advertisers on the space under the crossword that they must leave a bit of blank space for working out anagrams!)

    1. While defintions should ideally be the same part of speech as the answer, to impose the same constraint on wordplay would make life almost impossible for the setter. Both Chambers and the ODE give wig, in this context, as a verb and not a noun.

  11. Has anyone seen Kath, not ‘heard’ from her for a couple of days, was she at the meeting Dave?

  12. Ciao a tutti.

    I thought this was 2* at best for enjoyment really. Too many soso anagrams and 4 letter answers of shoulder shrugging provenance.

    I’m not sure whether 11A is really a material – is wool? Well yes, but you know what I’m saying.

    29A is VG but apart from that I’d find it easier to name my least fav clues rather than my favourites.

    Sorry to be a trye kicker.

  13. Really enjoyed today’s puzzle esp 10a and 16a both of which I thought were clever clues and they made me smile. Thx to the setter for a pleasent start to the week. Didn’t need the hints today but I appreciate the effort put into them so thx Digby.

  14. An enjoyable puzzle from Rufus.

    Faves : 1a, 10a, 16a, 27a, 29a, 4d, 7d, 12d, 19d & 20d.

    Snow arrived in coastal NL today – must put on a winter shirt!

  15. Some lovely clues and great moments, especially when I got 4d. Also liked 16, 18 and 29. Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle which will be my last for a few weeks.

  16. Loved the puzzle, no real problems. 12a is an expression that was used a lot in the past I think. I finally figured out how to get this to show up in Facebook.

  17. went quite well for me today , however just could not see 1a at all ! although i pondered corsair for a while
    thanks to rufus and digby

  18. Snowing quite heavily at the moment, nothing on the ground as yet, can see lots of snow on the hills, yuck, I really hope it’s not going to get worse though it was forecast yesterday!!

  19. One very small point Digby, I think you’ve left out the ‘N’ in your Hint/Tip for 29a. The anagram described is only 9 letters. Just shows that I follow the hints/tips/explanations. Thanx to all as usual.

  20. Thanks to Rufus for the puzzle & to Digby for the review & hints. I enjoyed this one but I think it’s bordering on 3* for difficulty & 4* for enjoyment. Had a penny drop moment with 4d, when I realised what Virginia was about. Last in was 1a. Favourites were 19& 20d. Nice puzzle to start the week.

  21. All good but struggled with top left. Last one in 2d and still kicking myself. I had not heard if the pirate and could not get beyond Barbarella! Got 12d straight away. Very familiar – more so than 13d although I hot it. Liked 16 a although it foxed me for a time largely because cob had so many meanings.

  22. Always glad of the hints and tips on a Monday. I whizz through some clues and others I think I’ll never get until I read the review and then I kick myself. Thanks to Digby for the help and the setter for a lot of fun.

  23. Just thought I’d post this to prove that I don’t do the occasional overnight blog on Wednesdays for any altruistic reasons. It’s just that I’m a night owl. Sometimes I just can’t get to sleep – must be lack of alcohol or something! It’s 0225CET here now and I’ve just spent the last 2 hours catching up on ‘Eggheads’ on the iPlayer – how sad is that?

    I’m here now -but nobody else is so I might think about a kip. See y’all tomorrow.,.

  24. Out of the office most of the day yesterday. Thanks Digby for an excellent blog! Especially liked the Flanders & Swan clip – when I was stationed at Lee on Solent in the FAA I used to pop up to London just to take in their shows (showing my age again).
    Further to my not flying in jets, there were none when I started. After training, I thought I was going to a Sea Venom (naval version of the Vampire) flight but the powers that were decided to modernise and change our leather helmets to proper bone domes and even add ejector seats. Unfortunately these had to be fitted in existing aircraft and I have long thighs. It was thought that, if I had to eject, I would finish without knees.
    I did enjoy the propeller and jet propeller aircraft . My first squadron was test flying the new anti-submarine Gannet before it was accepted for service. I later flew in the AEW version.
    Thanks for all the comments, I’ll try and do better!

    1. Always a delight to see you drop in, Rufus. I’m sure that all of the comments were well-meant, helpful suggestions. I defy anyone on this blog to get anywhere near your consistent and remarkable high standards – and delightful sense of humour! “See” you next week, as I will be tackling DT26,781.

  25. I got “gingers” for 15a that threw me on 8d – gingers being an anagram of eggs and the three middle letters of morning, but I suppose it isn’t a tonic as such. I had also not heard of Barbarossa as a pirate, but for me 12d was also the first in

    1. Hi Pookie, I suppose that’s what makes crosswords in general – and this blog in particular – so interesting and “personal”. From the above comments it’s clear that 12d is a well known phrase or saying to about half the commentators, and virtually unknown to the rest. Regional? Age? Who knows?

  26. I get to do the puzzle only very late in the evening and to look at this blog the following day.

    for me this was 2*, but i couldn’t get 9a, even with having a list of words, including acacia! that would fit – but as Digby said in response to my post yesterday about Monday’s puzzle, the individual brain is a marvellous thing!!

  27. This was a bit of a struggle for me – the right-hand side wasn’t too tricky, but I ended up chucking in the towel having failed to fathom the bulk of the NW corner. Checking the hints and answers, I don’t think I ever would have got them – wasn’t familiar with 1a’s pirate (too few checking letters even to hazard a guess), 10a, 11a, 3d and 5d seem to be pushing it for me.
    Good to see my guess for 4d was right, and I’m not sure whether I’m proud of getting 12a correct – another checking-letter-based guess – I’ve never heard of a lady described in that way before.
    Typical Rufus fare I’d say – some very good clues, mixed in with ones that just strike me as a bit on the weak side.

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