DT 26784 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26784

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26784

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment *

If you want your weekly fix of Ray T then don’t look here, go and do the Toughie instead!  The musical and sporting references suggest the possible setter, but for me this gimmick has worn very thin and I didn’t enjoy this puzzle at all.

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    Sailors following course they may traverse quickly (5,5)
{EPSOM SALTS} – put some sailors after a Surrey racecourse to get medicine for the constipated

6a    Square retro hairstyle cut short (4)
{SNUB} – S(quare) is followed by the reversal (retro) of a hairstyle to give a verb meaning to cut short

10a    One getting into difficulties later! (5)
{ADIOS} – put I (one) inside some difficulties to get an interjection meaning later or cheerio

11a    Engineer protecting missing good vintage cycle part (6-3)
{COTTER-PIN} – an anagram (engineer) of PROTECTIN(G) without (missing) G(ood) gives a piece of metal used to fasten two parts of a mechanism together

12a    Given time and light initially stormy Med becomes green (7)
{EMERALD} – put a period of time and the initial letter of Light inside an anagram (stormy) of MED to get a green gemstone

13a    Short skirts are archaic, that’s it! (7)
{MARTINI} – put a word meaning short when applied to a skirt around (skirts) the ald (archaic) word for are to get It(alian) vermouth – I didn’t like this on two counts: a) mini only means short when used in context b) It needs to be capitalised if it is to represent Italian vermouth

14a    Knockabout Lee Evans recast with dismissal of a very minor character who catches the eye (5-7)
{SCENE-STEALER} – an anagram (Knockabout) of LEE E(VA)NS RECAST without (dismissal of) A and V(ery) gives a minor character who catches the eye – the A and V are not dropped in the specified order

18a    Useless having English fellows replaced by Swiss hotshot academic (12)
{INTELLECTUAL} – start with a word meaning useless and then replace E(nglish), F and F (fellows) with the surname of a famous Swiss crossbow expert to get an academic

21a    All over the place it’s trendy to eat ragout regularly (7)
{CHAOTIC} – a word meaning all over the place is created when an adjective meaning trendy is placed around (to eat) the even (regularly) letters of rAgOuT

23a    Rate rib roast a snack? (7)
{RAREBIT} – an anagram (roast) of RATE RIB gives a Welsh snack

24a    Rome loudly dismissed as a hotchpotch? (9)
{POTPOURRI} – a hostile term for the Church of Rome sounds a bit like (loudly dismissed) a hotchpotch – unless I’ve missed something (and if I have I’m sure you will let me know) this kind of homophone is better suited to the Quick crossword pun

25a    Battle-axe (5)
{SCRAP} – a double definition – verbs meaning to battle or fight and to axe or cancel

26a    Misinterpret natural elements in volcano (4)
{ETNA} – hidden inside (elements in) the first two words is the volcano to which setters have to resort when they have boxed themselves into a corner!

27a    Control attempt by sci-fi writer to incorporate a new chapter (10)
{GOVERNANCE} – to get this control start with a two-letter word for an attempt and then add a French writer of science fiction into which A, N(ew) and C(hapter) are inserted


1d           Finish with title taken by the Spanish (6)
{ENAMEL} – a vitrified coating fired onto a metal or other surface is created by inserting a title inside the Spanish definite article

2d           Nameless transgressor covering up hard evidence of fight (6)
{SHINER} – drop an N (nameless) from a transgressor and then insert (covering up) H(ard) to get the evidence of a fight

3d           Turn of card forecast slip-up (14)
{MISCALCULATION} – this looks like an anagram clue, but actually it’s a reversal of the kind of card found in a mobile phone followed by a forecast to get a slip-up

4d           A County Council garden getting church approval (9)
{ACCEDENCE} – a charade of A from the clue, the abbreviation of County Council, Adam and Eve’s garden and the Church of England gives this approval

5d           Symbol some came to tolerate in hindsight (5)
{TOTEM} – this symbol is hidden (some) and reversed (in hindsight) inside the clue

7d           Wedding ceremony — groom plans it around mid-January (8)
{NUPTIALS} – this wedding ceremony is derived from an anagram (groom) of PLANS IT around the middle letter of JanUary

8d           Dreadful bind, getting a taste for illegal activity (8)
{BANDITRY} – start with an anagram (dreadful) of BIND around (getting) A and then add a taste or test to get this illegal activity

9d           Beatle hero Ringo’s ‘gear’ — swinging! (6,8)
{GEORGE HARRISON} – this member of the Beatles is an anagram (swinging) of HERO RINGO’S GEAR

15d         Gloomy Act 1 set in stable (9)
{SATURNINE} – this adjective meaning gloomy is created by putting an act on stage and I inside an adjective meaning stable or sound in mind

16d         ‘East London Eye’ is epic Emin creation (5,3)
{MINCE PIE} – when will setters learn that Cockney (East London) slang drops the rhyming word? Stairs are apples not apples and pears, face is boat not boat race … – this eye is an anagram (creation) of EPIC EMIN

17d         Selection from orchestra — it engenders distress (8)
{STRAITEN} – hidden inside (selection from) the clue is a verb meaning to distress

19d         Borneo’s overthrown king (6)
{OBERON} – an anagram (overthrown) of BORNEO gives the King of the Fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

20d         Plain sailing primarily with Bolt closing on back-to-back records (6)
{STEPPE} – this dry, grassy, generally treeless, and uncultivated plain is contrived from the initial letter of Sailing, the final letter of bolT and two Extended Play records, one of them being reversed (back-to-back)

22d         Something unusual about United with Ferdinand at back (5)
{CURIO} – this unusual item is a charade of the single-letter Latin term for about, U(nited) and the first name of a Manchester United defender who has seen better days

Here’s looking forward to Giovanni tomorrow!

The Quick crossword pun: {yell} + {owe} + {brie} + {crowed} = {Yellow Brick Road}

133 comments on “DT 26784

  1. Very enjoyable for me today, taxed the few brain cells I have left. Thought the ‘pun’ in the Quickie was excellent also. Thanx to Compiler and BD for the review.

  2. This took me a while to get going, and then a steady plod through.
    My last in was 24a, where I get the definition, but the homophone……….?!
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

  3. Very hard today but have managed all but one (1d). Lots of nice anagrams to get you started but then some rather complex clues. My personals favs were 16d and 14a but then I am a fan of phrases. Still not quite there with 24a what has it to do with Rome? Also does 2d mean to remove a n from sinner? Overall enjoyable but thx to BD for the hints and explanations.

          1. Chambers doesn’t give the pronunciation of popery, but from the ODE

            popery /ˈpəʊp(ə)ri/

            potpourri /pəʊˈpʊəri, -ˈri:, pɒtˈpʊəri/

            1. Oh – thanks – me being dim YET again!! Oh dear – there seem to have been lots of “oh dears” today!! :sad: AND it’s snowing like hell in Oxford.

              1. If you did most of the Beam today you can’t be that dim! Enjoyable but not easy IMHO!

                Not a cloud in the sky here but very cold by Spanish standards (only 3C according to Alicante airport weather station) and houses here don’t have carpets and central heating so it feels a lot colder!

                From mid-Jan to early March pommette and I retreat to the kitchen which is the easiest room to keep warm, which is where we are now.

                Never mind – soon be Spring :smile:

                  1. I really do think collywobbles was only meaning to be funny, no harm intended, why is everyone taking it so seriously, Brian’s not

              1. Just keep going, Brian. I don’t think that collywobbles meant any harm. What I CAN’T understand is how, if you’ve managed the rest of this quite difficult crossword, you COULDN’T do 1d – I thought it was one of the easiest clues. Isn’t it strange what different people find impossible? :smile:

    1. Re: 1d. Put a title inside spanish for ‘the’ which gives you a type of finish. Hope that’s ok BD.

  4. Haven’t enjoyed a puzzle so much in ages. Yes, there are some dodgy bits and I agree with Dave that 13a is one of them, but I really enjoyed working out the challenging clues. Definitely not one for beginners, I would say. My fave was the far clue down in the SW corner, can’t remember the number.

  5. I didn’t enjoy this at all, I couldn’t really get going, and although I got the answers, some of them were more guess work than anything else, and a couple totally lacked the ‘why factor’. The Swiss in 18a for example?

  6. I’m REALLY struggling with this one – just can’t get going at all. :sad: Haven’t looked at hints yet – thought I’d see what the general opinion was. Back later.

  7. Can’t say I really enjoyed today’s offering – some very iffy answers IMHO. Not being an engineer, I had no idea what 11A could be (although it was fairly obvious from the anagram), the few times I’ve had to deal with them, they’ve always been referred to as a split pin. Although the answer to 3D is obvious from the checking letters, I can see no connection to the clue apart from the ‘slip up’ part. I thought 24A was extremely iffy, if it is a homophone, then it is a very poor one indeed. In 1A the word ‘traverse’ has no relevance to the clue whatsoever.

    Having said all that, I quite enjoyed 9D.

    Bright and sunny here but COLD! On the plus side, I’ve been sent a coupon for a free carrot cake from my local Co-op (or I could have a chocolate cake, mmmm decisions, decisions).

      1. I didn’t like this clue because the answer is just a bad forecast. Good charades use totally different meanings from that in the answer.

          1. phew, don’t think I’d fancy crossing the North Face of the Eiger quickly. But then I don’t really fancy crossing the North Face of the Eiger at all.

    1. Go for both types of cake, Skempie – an article in today’s paper says that apparently research has just decided that if we eat cake with a full breakfast, we are more likely to lose weight and stay trim.

      1. In the end, I plumped for the chocolate cake as the carrot cake had walnuts in and Mrs Skempie’s allergic to them – thoughtful or what?

      2. Thanks for that snippet of information CS. Just what I’ve been waiting to hear all my life and most importantly now that Mr. A has started baking the most yummy cakes and being the good wife that I am I have to help him eat them otherwise he would be left to eat the whole cake by himself and that would be most unhealthy for him. :smile:

    2. NO! Sorry, didn’t mean to shout… but to use the term “cotter pin” to refer to a “split pin” is American, not English.

      As others have said, they’re not used on modern bicycles, but I remember as a 12-year-old having to ask my Dad to get his mate to use a lathe on my new cotter pins, as they were too thick a wedge for the hole.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotter has some lovely photos!

  8. Just as an aside to 13a, Dave. Do you or anyone else know the reason why false capitalisation is generally OK but not false lower case?

    1. Presumably because almost any word can be capitalised, but some proper nouns can’t be given in lower case. I’m not a fan of fake capitalisation, but it is endemic.

  9. It is over four hours since I solved this one and to be honest I can’t remember much about it except that my favourite Beatle was included and that it took me a 3.5* back page solving time. Thanks to the setter and BD too.

    Those of you missing Mr T will be delighted to find him in the middle of the paper. A very enjoyable Toughie. If you need further entertainment after that, I highly recommend the cheeky Paul in the Guardian.

  10. Thanks dave for the’ popery’ explanation to 24a, wanted to put staple for 20d -until i saw the light,the rest was plain sailing-now for the toughie-bet Harry uses his accountant.

  11. Too hard for me today, needed clues with 4 of them. But overall I quite enjoyed it. 16d was my favourite and brought a smile to my face. Good luck to all still working on it.

  12. I quite enjoyed todays crossword. Yes there were some suspect clues/ definitions but overall it was fine. The crossword is meant to stretch us, and it would be boring if we sailed through every day. Thanks to BD for hints and the setter.

  13. :sad:
    Definitely not my day! What a battle! I finally ended up with two clues that I just couldn’t do – 10a, all I could think of that would fit was “alias” – and 11a, missed the anagram indicator completely and I’ve never heard of it anyway. I also had loads of answers that I didn’t understand – 13 and 24a and 3d. Oh dear!!! Having said all that I wouldn’t know where to begin with setting a crossword and there were quite a few clues that I liked – 6 and 18a and 2, 4, 7 and 22d. With thanks to the setter and to BD for the much needed hints and explanations.
    Do I dare to have a look at the toughie or is that really pushing my luck a bit too far?

    1. Try the downs in the Toughie first, Kath, and see how you get on. It is a toughie but my handwriting is quite neat which I always take as an indication of how much of a struggle I had :)

    2. Yes Kath, give it a go! I think it’s the first Beam Toughie I’ve ever completed without any aids at all, not even a dictionary! :grin:

    3. Thanks Jezza, CS and pommers – I need all the encouragement I can get, especially today!! About to go for arctic afternoon dog walk and then will have a look at the toughie when the hands have thawed enough to be able to type!

  14. Thought this puzzle went from the sublime to the ridiculous with just about everything in-between, 20d – sublime, 24a – ridiculous!

    Pommette and I did our usual quick run through the across clues and got just ONE :sad: but we got 9 of the downs and then it all just sort of fell into place!

    I quite liked the accuracy of the definition in 11a as “vintage cycle part”. I know cotter pins as the pin that was used to hold the pedal on a bike but modern bike’s have a different fixing mechanism so the cotter pin is an old/vintage part!

    Pommette legged us up for a while on 24a by insisting that I had the answer wrong because it’s hyphenated :oops:.

    Favourites 11a, 18a and 20d.

    Thanks to the mysteron and Big Dave.

      1. I live in hope but I have a birthday before then you never know! It’s not hyphenated in the Collins on-line dictionary either.

          1. Thanks Jezza. I hadn’t spotted that so I’ll have a look. It’s certainly too big and heavy to bring back when you’re travelling hand luggage and have only 10kg weight allowance.

          2. Had a look and it’s £21.20 but if I add the crossword dictionary to make the order value over £25 it looks like free delivery even to Spain. Now where did I put my English credit card?

              1. It’s as good as Mrs B’s if not better as the sections are not only laid out alphabetically (as you would expect!) but the words are enumerated (if that’s the right word)

  15. Afternoon Dave, late today, things to do this morning! completed most with out help but got well and truly stuck on the top, I worked a lot of the clues out backwards today! no favourites and lots of question marks, disliked 1a, 6a 11a also 24a, a 3 to 4 star for me today, maybe it’s because I was doing it wrong time of day :-( thanks for blog Dave, off to read it now, wouldn’t have completed top without your help

  16. Hated it! Only triumphs were solving 9d and 14a. Thanks for hints BD or would still have a very blank puzzle. Are the general public really supposed to know the name of a famous Swiss crossbow expert?? Uuurrrggghhh! Look forward to tomorrow!

        1. Back in the day when I used to build my own bikes it was quite common to take a lump hammer to a recalcitrant cotter pin. I think cycle technology may have moved on hence the vintage reference.

      1. So I just showed my ignorance! Can’t say I realised he was Swiss – anyway, the clue says “hotshot” – I might have made an educated guess if it had said “crossbow”!! Still, my comment stirred up a lot of blogging!

      1. Trying to name five famous Swiss people is like trying to name five famous Belgians!

        Orson Welles put it best – “Five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” Then the Swiss very nicely pointed out that they’ve never made any cuckoo clocks.

          1. William Tell, Sigmund Freud, Roger Federer and that’s about it, there’s probably a few skiers that I know by name but not nationality (5 famous Belgians is almost a doddle compared to the Swiss).

            1. Freud was born in Friborg in what was then Galicia and part of the Austrian empire, so he doesn’t qualify. But you could always have Ursula Andress instead …………… :-D

          2. Pommers, you have left out that other great Swiss tennis player Martina Hingis, who is often referred to as the Swiss Miss.
            I would think that your good wife would not be impressed that you had forgotten this lady!

                1. Hi zofbak

                  Always thought he was Italian but I just tried him in Wiki and they lisy his nationality as Swiss/Italian so I guess he counts as a half!

        1. My old boss used to say that Switzerland was the land of woodwork bears and won’t work clocks.

  17. I quite enjoyed this and had a few to think about at the end – I agree with BD and eXternal about 13a. Thanks to the setter and to BD – Hardly looked at the Toughie – I will save the enjoyment for this evening

    1. especially when you realise Beatle is the definition. Doesn’t take too much to work that out!

      1. Read the clue, looked at the enumeration, wrote in the answer – then pommette checked the anagram fodder! Not the best clue in the world but not ridiculous – somewhere in between. See my post #16 :smile:

  18. Definitely a 3 if not 4* for me to-day but perservated (when is that word going to make it into the dictionary?) and got there in the end but not without some help. I actually thought 1a was a good clue and made me smile but as for 24a I could not figure out why it was what it was until I read BD’s explanation.I couldn’t figure out 13a either. But on the whole I enjoyed the challenge of it.

  19. Didn’t enjoy solving this one.
    Only one I liked was18a.
    Started on it very late after getting my hair cut in readiness for going to the second restaurant in the top 100 in NL on Saturday to celebrate my son-in-law’s birthday anniversary.
    Weather here still very cold. Hairdresser said that there is yet no OK for the elfstedentocht in Friesland. It was mentioned in the DT as a possibility after 15 years’ no-go!
    Looking forward to Giovanni’s puzzle tomorrow.

    1. Hi Derek

      What’s on the menu tonight? We’re having good old English corned beef hash with pickled red cabbage and a bottle of local Alicante wine followed by strawberries. :smile:

      Ordering Chambers from Amazon and I see they have ‘The Haggis’ in stock at only £3 so I’ll stick a copy on the order.

    2. Hope Saturday goes well Derek, how was the chinon? Not tried it before but have in the last hour been told I really should partake……

  20. Ground it out with the aid of Chamber’s Wordfinder. Some nice clues and some dreadful ones. Is there really a plural for ADO ? I would like to see a sentence that uses “ados” – many ados about nothing sounds really clumsy.

    1. Hmmm – hadn’t thought about the plural of “ado” – do I now have an excuse for that one being one of the ones that I could not make any sense of at all? :smile:

  21. Big Red Book ordered :grin: (also The Haggis).

    They say it should arrive on Monday but I’ll believe that when I see it!

    Once it arrives there’ll be no stopping me :grin:

      1. ditto. And at risk of BD wrath I rather liked 13a, remembering the advertisements. But I take on board the comments. Thanks to setter and BD.
        It has been snowing since 16:00 here in peterborough (north cambs in uk for usa and canadian readers) and lethal on pavements, be careful everyone

        1. Ah! – Its the special rain that freezes when it hits the floor apparently! Regarding the 13a, there are many setters (one of whom you have met) who would say “What’s wrong with that?!”. Take care up there – its OK down here!

        2. I didn’t understand 13a until I read the hint although it was fairly obvious what it had to be – particularly after I decided that 8d wasn’t “burglary”!! Oh dear!! I couldn’t see why 8d should be that apart from it being an illegal activity and it fitted!
          Snowing here in Oxford and has been since about 7.00pm – it’s falling on ground that has been frozen for a while – should make tomorrow morning “interesting”! Be careful and stay safe and warm everyone.

  22. OK, my rant about cotter pins is over…

    I found this a right stinker! At lunchtime I only had twenty minutes to spare, which got me a whole EIGHT answers!

    I really liked 1A, 11A, 18A and 2D… and hated 10A (how can “ado” have a plural?).

    Thanks to setter and Big Dave, who must have been very annoyed if he didn’t give us a nice picture for 13a :-)

  23. Thanks to the setter & to Big Dave for the review & hints. Hated this one, didn’t like 24& 18a, totally incomprehensible.

  24. A few words/terms I’d not heard of before (1a, 11a and 15d), but this was do-able with a bit of guesswork.
    No stand-out clues – bit devoid of any sparkle on the whole…all a bit of a humdrum puzzle.

  25. So I am in NZ and get this in the Dominion Post a month after you people. But I really look forward to my daily crossword and although I am not very proficient I generally get at least half to 2 thirds. But this was no fun and very demeaning to achieve so little just because the compiler wanted to be too clever. Who was it crafted for?

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