DT 26777 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26777

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26777

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from the Vega Baja.  Another treat from Jay which I found both tricky and amusing in places. A 2* solving time (but very close to 3*) but the variation in difficulty between the clues is quite large, similar to last week’s puzzle.

There seem to be quite a lot of “take the first and/or last letter” type of clues this week but no substitution clue.

The clues I like most are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting the space between the curly brackets. 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           A short word, eg, may be one (12)
{ABBREVIATION} –  This is a short word of which e.g. is an example.

9a           Groups of companies where no actor is trained (9)
{CONSORTIA} –  Groups of companies are an anagram (trained) of NO ACTOR IS.

10a         Animal that’s holy without and venal within (5)
{HYENA} –  This animal is made up of HY (HolY without) and ENA (vENAl) within).  Is this clue actually a description of one of these animals?

11a         Foreign divorcee gets zero credit in hearing (6)
{EXOTIC} –  The definition here is foreign, as in strange or bizarre. It’s a charade of the usual abbreviation for a previous partner, O (zero) and a word which sounds like (in hearing) a colloquial term for credit.

12a         Drunken sot found by shelter for poor people (4-4)
{HAVE NOTS} –  This is a phrase describing poor people. Take a shelter (5), often described as ‘safe’, and follow with an anagram (drunken) of SOT and then split the result (4,4).  The surface of this one works well for me, raised a smile anyway!

13a         A sign of disapproval in case of treacherous restrictions (6)
{TABOOS} –  Insert A (from the clue) and a sign or shout of disapproval into TS (case of TreacherouS) to get these restrictions or prohibitions.

15a         Sloppy display of affection, hugging the French (8)
{CARELESS} –  A word meaning sloppy is formed by taking a display of affection and placing it around (hugging) the French definite article.

18a         Saints, unusually, on a run, being skilled technicians (8)
{ARTISANS} –  These skilled technicians or craftsmen, who haven’t appeared in a crossword for a while, are an anagram (unusually) of SAINTS placed after (on) A (from the clue) and R(un).

19a         Son’s put on short pants (6)
{BRIEFS} –  The definition is pants as in men’s underwear. It’s S(on) placed after a word meaning short.

21a         Partly covers surplus drinks (8)
{OVERLAPS} –  A word meaning partly covers is a charade of a word for surplus and a word for drinks, as a dog or cat might do it.

23a         Milk supplier backed by millions — countless! (6)
{MYRIAD} –  A place which supplies milk and milk products reversed (backed) and placed after (by) M(illions) gives a word meaning countless. I spent some time trying to do something with a reversal of cow or udder until the penny dropped!

26a         Heads back with time to check growth (5)
{STUNT} –  A reversal (back) of a slang term for your head (remember it’s plural) followed by T(ime) give a word meaning the check or stop growth.

27a         Copy most of response that’s protective of pet (9)
{REPLICATE} –  This word meaning to copy is made from a word for a response without its last letter (most of) followed by the usual abbreviation for “that is” (that’s) placed around (protecting) a popular pet, of which I have two fat ones.

28a         Matching frock? (7,5)
{WEDDING DRESS} –  Matching as in getting married. This is the frock worn by the bride.


1d           Old and loose canine out at last (7)
{ANCIENT} –  For once “old” isn’t trying to give us the letter O, it’s the definition here. It’s an anagram (loose) of CANINE followed by T (ouT at last).

2d           Throw out travel game (5)
{BINGO} –  A word for to throw away (3) followed by a word for travel (2) gives a popular game.

3d           Economist produced figures on screen (9)
{EMOTICONS} –  These figures, seen on computer screens and much used by commenters on this site, are an anagram (produced) of ECONOMIST.  Phew! For a while I thought I was going to have to come up with some obscure economist!

4d           Radio taxi carrying just a bit (4)
{IOTA} –  This little bit is hidden (carrying) in radio taxi.

5d           Hot-headed youth’s rip-off? (8)
{TEARAWAY} –  A hot-headed youth, if split (4,4), would be a phrase meaning to rip off or pull off.

6d           Where darts players stand is about right colour (5)
{OCHRE} –  Put the place where a dart thrower stands around R(ight) and you get a brown colour.

7d           Developed sore knee getting fuel (8)
{KEROSENE} –  This fuel, also known as paraffin, is an anagram (developed) of SORE KNEE.

8d           Short breaks in adult employment covered by note (6)
{PAUSES} –  The definition is short breaks. Take A(dult) and a common crosswordland word for employment (3) and place them inside a note which you might find on the bottom of a letter.  Tricky one and my last in! I thought “LAPSES” for a while but couldn’t parse it!

14d         Flatter spread on unit prices, initially (6,2)
{BUTTER UP} –  This is a phrase meaning to flatter. Take some spread which might put on toast or bread and follow with UP (Unit Price initially).

16d         Person arriving in good time rarely bid freely (5,4)
{EARLY BIRD} –  Someone who arrives in good time is an anagram (freely) of RARELY BID

17d         Divinely influenced tower in India (8)
{INSPIRED} –  Put a church tower inside an abbreviation of India and you get a word meaning divinely influenced.  For some strange reason it took me ages to spot this one. I think I’ve got used to “tower” in crossword being something which tows!

18d         Sound arguments supporting a call to action (6)
{AROUSE} –  A word which sounds like some arguments or quarrels placed after (supporting in a down clue) A gives a word meaning to call to action or wake up.

20d         The misery of winter? (7)
{SADNESS} –  This is a cryptic definition of a word meaning misery or depression and it’s an allusion to “Seasonal Affective Disorder”, which is also known as Winter Depression or Winter Blues.  

22d         Delayed drinking last of hot coffee (5)
{LATTE} –  A type of coffee made from espresso and hot milk is a word for delayed or overdue with T (last of hoT) inserted (drinking).

24d         Picture game played by head of Interpol (5)
{IMAGE} –  This picture is an anagram (played) of GAME placed after I (head of Interpol).

25d         Part of Europe without one bridge (4)
{SPAN} –  Take the I out of (without one) the part of Europe where I live and you’ll get a bridge.

I like all the ones in blue but favourite is 10a.

The Quick crossword pun: {teary} + {ennui} = {Thierry Henry}

62 comments on “DT 26777

  1. Thought I was going to struggle here but just needed persavation, my last in was also 8d. 1a was kind by the setter, got me off to a great start. Lots of good clues today I thought esp 28a and 19a. 13a puzzled me for a bit but obvious once you see the clue structure clearly. Thx to Jay for an enjoyable start to the day and to Pommers for the hints. Off now to strike a yellow ball across the green swards and hope that I don’t freeze!

  2. A straightforward, but very enjoyable puzzle from Jay.
    Thanks to him, and to Pommers for the review.

  3. Like Brian I thought I was going to struggle but plodded on & discovered it was not so bad after all. I liked 9a which has the correct spelling, not iums as is usual.

    1. Ah someone else who gets wound up by newsreaders and their ‘stadiums’! Conjugate with me Bellum as my old Latin master would say. :-)

      1. My daughter and I still recite bellum. Once learned, never forgotten. I just wish they still taught languages by recitation. It’s very effective.

    2. The OED only has the -ia plural in 9a but it has the following for stadium:-

      Pl. stadia, stadiums;

      a place for athletic exercises; spec. an enclosed area for sporting events equipped with tiers of seats for spectators. (The pl. stadiums is usual in this sense.)

  4. Couldn’t quite get my brain in gear with this today – a bit up and down but plodded through. Last one in was 28a – stared at it for ages before the penny dropped!!!!! Really liked 11a and 23a. Thanks to pommers for the hints and tips.

  5. Very enjoyable offering today with a nice mixture of clues.I particularly enjoyed 1A, 10A, 23A, 28A, 3D, 8D and 17D.

    Nice and sunny here in Brissle today and am a bit tempted to do stuff in the garden. Luckily, its b*****y freezing, so I will probably pass.

    Incidentally, I thought the quicky pun was very clever today

          1. Looking forward to the next meet. Hope I can make it then to talk football as well as crosswords :-)

            1. I’m a Man U man myself so if we ever get to meet we’ll have to have a ‘slag off the Spurs’ conversation – probably safest!

        1. Shouldn’t worry Kath – it’s all about 22 vastly overpaid oiks kicking a round thing (and eachother) about a field for 90 minutes! Don’t take it too seriously, I certainly don’t, I prefer the game played by gentlemen with odd shaped balls!

  6. Nice pictures pommers :-) , I did struggle a bit and have to admit to using your hints pommers for one or two, as I am in a hurry today, nor keen on 20d, OK it gives us SAD but where does the ‘ness’ come from? put duplicate a first for 27a so got stuck on 17d! no real fav clues today but quite a few I liked, see you later, good luck all, not too tough once you get going, 2/3* for me today, keeeeeeep perservating :-D

    1. Me too on 20d – guessed the ‘ness’ – did the same for 27a until I figured out 17d….

  7. Nice one today – had to keep going back to it while those pennies kept dropping. 17d and 5d left me resorting to those handy hints above tho’.

    PS Thanks for the pick of the nice man in his pants Pommers……..can’t help thinking he’d be better employed giving the paintwork on his doorframe some attention though!

  8. I thought this was going to be a struggle – I put in 1a and then didn’t put another across solution in until 28a. Luckily the downs came to my rescue and it all turned out in a straightforward time. Very enjoyable thank you Jay and Pommers too – like the provision of pics for both ladies and gentlemen :D

    The Toughie is by Micawber and as usual is a thing of joy from start to finish.

    1. 1a caused me some delay, as I stupidly put in monosyllable. Once I saw the error of my ways, this was good fun.

  9. Worked through this one quite easily with a few chuckles along the way (10a & 19a in particular). Last one in was 8d. Dubai is having a bit of a mini heatwave today , it was 31degC at lunch time. I just hope it doesn’t have an adverse affect on the practice which I hope Mssrs Srauss and Co are having in preparation for Friday, when it should have cooled down again.

    1. Hi Jackie, only 18C here but pleasantly sunny enough for me to be sat outside. I think it’s more than practice that the cricketers need!

      1. Days are lovely, but I see we’re due some minus 3s at night.

        I really enjoyed this crossword. I was stuck for a while on 12a and 5d, but when I got then, they were both very enjoyable ah-ha moments.

        After the delights of today, I wonder if we can hope for Ray T tomorrow? I can’t believe I’m saying that as I used to fear his puzzles, but now I really look forward to them.

    2. Enough of the hot temperatures – we have sun but with the windchill it is -2 or even -3. Brrr!!

  10. Well that was fun. Top half went in very quickly ovcer a cup of coffee before getting hair cut. Got stuck a bit on the bottom right corner and took ages for 25d (sorry Pommers didn’t think of your country!). I really liked 23a – several other good ones but that hit the spot for me.

    Thanks to Jay and to Pommers.

  11. Some very nicely-written clues in today’s offering. I particularly liked 10a and 28a, including your pix for this one Pommers. I don’t believe I’ve seen one quite like that in the UK. More typical of Spain, perhaps?

    1. I’ve never seen a 28a like that anywhere! It would make the Best Man’s job a bit more entertaining! Not Spain, brides here tend to dress very traditionally with long trains and ornate headdresses.

  12. Interestingly I had EXOdus (ex owed us) for 11 across. It sort of fits. which meant I could not get 3 d. I knew 3 d was an anagram but could make nothing of it. I also tried looking for an obscure director but to no avail. Not bad though.

  13. I really enjoyed this one – very slow to get going and, as so often on Wednesdays, would have done better starting with the down clues – only did about three of the acrosses on first read through. 10a had me fooled for ages – tried to make the “holy” bit “pi” – it often is – but couldn’t think of a five letter animal beginning with a “p” and ending with an “i”!! Got there in the end – what a great clue – really sneaky!! 23a took a while – thought of cows, goats etc etc. 12a, the first word of 28a and 8d were my last ones. Favourites today include 10, 12, – actually, too many more to make it worth writing them ALL down!! With thanks to Jay and Pommers.

  14. I did this in absolutely record time today – probably the first time I’d rate a puzzle as 1*! :D Enjoyment was nearer 4* and there were loads of clues that I marked as favs, including 10 & 23a, 1, 8 & 20d, but also 22d cos I like the drink!

    Don’t know if it makes any difference, but I nearly always start in the SE corner, as I print the crossword out and then go through marking any hyphens/multi-word clues; this leaves me looking at the last down clue which is often very easy to get, so I start there and work my way up.

    Thanks to Jay for a very enjoyable puzzle, and to Pommers for your usual entertaining comments.

    1. So you do the crossword corner by corner? Might try changing what I’ve always done which is quick read through of all the across clues, put in the ones that are obvious/easy and then do the same with the downs – after that just muddle around …. ! A change of routine could be useful. Wednesdays are, only by observation, better started with the downs – the only problem today was that as far as I’m concerned today was Tuesday – away for long weekend and came back on Monday, consequently yesterday felt like a Monday … etc etc so today, as far as I was concerned, was Tuesday!! Oh dear!!

      1. A couple of weeks ago I was off work on the Monday, but then thought Weds was Thurs, which makes no sense at all! And the worst thing is realising you’ve got 2 more days to the weekend, instead of just 1! :(

  15. Thanks to Jay for the puzzle & to Pommers for the review & hints, which for once I didn’t need. Really enjoyed this one, mostly straightforward, but a few head scratching moments. Had a penny drop moment with 12a. Favourites were 10a & 3d. Last in was 17d, I was hoping for inspiration for yesterday’s Toughie…. Very enjoyable puzzle more like this please.

  16. A really enjoyable solve—liked 14d. Lower half went in quickly but struggled a bit with top half, however, all resolved. Many thanks for setter and to reviewer.

  17. I found this both enjoyable and doable and only needed help with 10a which was a lovely clue. Thanks for the hints.

  18. Thought this a brilliant puzzle .Definitely 4* for enjoyment .But first run through the acrosses only managed one !! last one in for me was 12a ,just couldn’t see it, needed Pommers’ hint .D’oh. Many thanks to Jay & Pommers and too many lovely clues to enumerate.

  19. Enjoyable puzzle from Jay.

    Faves : 10a, 12a, 13a, 23a, 3d, 6d, 8d & 22d.

    Another sunny, bitterly cold day – if you are coming to NL put on your woollies.

    Liver, bacon and tomatoes fried tonight!

    1. Oh, and pommette’s going to the UK tomorrow for a ‘girlie’ weekend and has been advised to take thermal underwear and snow shoes!

      1. Wooly hat, scarf, gloves, thick coat and any other warm garment she possesses – especially if she is coming anywhere near the east coast – the wind is coming from -26 Siberia and doesn’t seem to have warmed up much on the way.

        1. To avoid having to pay for a bag in the aircraft hold she’s travelling hand luggage so to get all the warm stuff with her she’ll look a bit like the Michelin Man tomorrow!

          1. That’lll be just right for when she gets here – my friend and I looked like that on our daily walk round the marsh.

            1. She’s going to somewhere between Nottingham and Mansfield and the forecast don’t look promising!
              Glad I’m staying here even though the forecast is much cooler (about 11C) over the weekend but freezing at night and we don’t have central heating or carpets! If it gets too cold I’ll go to our local where they have a big wood-burning stove – actually I’ll be going there even if it don’t go cold (while the cat’s away . . . :grin:). Must get used to using these 3d’s!

              1. Pomette REALLY does need her warm clothes – it’s absolutely freezing in UK. In our house we have two expressions (and lots more besides but to do with the degree of coldness) – BC and FC. BC is Bloody Cold which is down to about 4C. FC is anything below that!! :grin:

                1. We have similar here in the summer – S’ot (it’s hot >28C), V’ot (very hot > 32C), B’ot (bloody hot > 36C) and F’ot (you can guess but >40C!). Fortunately it doesn’t get F’ot very often!

              2. I can confirm v cold. I’m on the road to Mansfield. Feeling fed up as cancelledgoing down to Cornwall today as have to be in Boston Lincs Monday and worried about getting back AND getting to Boston!

  20. A fine and straightforward puzzle (ultimately) from Jay, my thanks to him. THanks too to pommers for his hints which had something for everyone (except no motor for himself :-( (Sad 3d!))

    1. Try as I might I could not find a good excuse for a racing car :sad: ! Thought last week’s effort on ‘kerb’ was pushing it a bit, but it was a great photo!

  21. Very chilly here. I found this quite easy save 3d (just could not work it out – I am a tehnophobe though) and 23a. Favourites were 8d and 12a. A nice challenge.

    1. I’m a technophobe too but I love these silly faces – only learnt about them when I discovered this blog! :grin:

  22. Very enjoyable puzzle from Jay, which killed a bit of time on my plane journey earlier.
    Checking the answers, I see I got 11a wrong – I ended up concluding that it was an anagram (foreign) of ‘divorcee’ without ‘cr’ (zero credit) to get a word I’d never heard of that meant ‘hearing’. So, I put in evodie or something like that.
    Ah well… :)

  23. 10 a and 11a tickled me today, most difficult was 19a – thought Son’s meant a double s at the end till i looked here, was also pleased to have got 23a.

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