DT 26790

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26790

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Yet another excellent puzzle from Ray T – keep ’em coming! I thought this was a tad easier than usual, 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    Here’s the best place to start on grid (4,8)
{POLE POSITION} – a cryptic definition of the best place from which to start a motor race

8a    Thatcher perhaps and supporter losing head (7)
{ARTISAN} – this thatcher is an example (perhaps) of a skilled manual worker – drop the initial letter (losing head) from a supporter of a party

9a    Element ignited with smell containing iodine (7)
{LITHIUM} – this element is derived from a verb meaning ignited followed by a smell placed around the chemical symbol for Iodine

Excellent reggae interpretation of a Nirvana song

11a    Academic has work with absent failing student (7)
{DROPOUT} – a charade of the holder of a higher degree, the short word for a musical work and a word meaning absent gives a failing student

12a    Producer of Robin’s first line at works (7)
{RELIANT} – to get this producer of motor vehicles, including one model called the Robin, start with the initial letter (first) of Robin and then add an anagram (works) of LINE AT

13a    Relation’s pleasant embracing sweetheart (5)
{NIECE} – this female relative is a bit of a gimme – an adjective meaning pleasant around (embracing) the middle letter (heart) swEet

14a    Discover an act is performed including Queen (9)
{ASCERTAIN} – a verb meaning to discover is generated from an anagram (performed) of AN ACT IS around (including) Ray T’s perennial Queen

16a    A crowd’s addressed outside for ceremony (9)
{SACRAMENT} – A from the clue and a verb (not a noun!) meaning to crowd have a word meaning addressed a letter outside to get this religious ceremony

19a    Opening of ‘Bambi’ in story board (5)
{TABLE} – put the initial letter (opening) of Bambi inside a story to get a board or worktop

21a    Automatic rifle with jerk bagging duck (7)
{ROBOTIC} – this adjective meaning automatic or mechanical is built up from a verb meaning to rifle or steal and a jerk or spasm around (bagging) a duck (score of zero in cricket)

23a    Roof bloke’s fit with top off (7)
{MANSARD} – this roof having its angle divided to slope more steeply in the lower part than in the upper is a charade of a bloke, the S from ‘S and a word meaning bodily fit without the initial H (with top off)

24a    Returning about noon, sink lager (7)
{PILSNER} – reverse all of a two-letter word meaning about, N(oon) and a verb meaning to sink or decline to get this insipid form of lager from the Czech Republic

25a    Denial from fellow American in concrete (7)
{REFUSAL} – to get this denial put F(ellow) and the two-letter abbreviation for an American inside an adjective meaning concrete actual

26a    Paul Rubens is spreading paint colour (8,4)
{PRUSSIAN BLUE} – an anagram (spreading) of PAUL RUBENS IS gives a paint colour


1d           Drug den creates depression in street (7)
{POTHOLE} – a charade of a slang words for cannabis and an animal’s den gives an all-too-familiar depression in the street

2d           Section of coil is somewhat flexible (7)
{LISSOME} – hidden inside the clue (section of) is an adjective meaning flexible

3d           Get into exercises with clear speed (9)
{PENETRATE} – this verb meaning to get into is a charade of some physical exercises, an adjective meaning clear of deductions and speed or velocity

4d           Fly around tail-end of the sun (5)
{SOLAR} – put a verb meaning to fly high in the air around the final letter (end) of taiL to get an adjective meaning of the sun

5d           Magazine say, for gossip (7)
{TATTLER} – what sounds like a glossy magazine focusing on the glamorous lives and lifestyles of the upper class is actually someone who gossips

6d           Battle of Vladivostok, in a war (7)
{OKINAWA} – this battle was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of WW II and is hidden inside the clue

7d           Take off after start of flight here? (7,5)
{LANDING STRIP} – put a verb meaning to take off clothes after where a flight of stairs starts (or ends) to give somewhere for a flight in an aircraft to start or end

10d         Actors turning to ladies’ men around one? (7,5)
{MATINEE IDOLS} – these actors from the silver screen come from an anagram (turning) of TO LADIES’ MEN around I (one)

15d         Whip a crew holding middle of oars in ship (9)
{CATAMARAN} – start with a whip of the kind used to maintain discipline the add A from the clue and a verb meaning to crew a boat and finally insert the middle two letters of oARs to get a seagoing craft

17d         Repairman found at last? (7)
{COBBLER} – this man can be found repairing shoes at the last!

18d         A non-drinker winds up escorts (7)
{ATTENDS} – a charade of A from the clue, a two-letter abbreviation of a non-drinker and a verb meaning winds up or terminates gives a verb meaning escorts

19d         Playing flute penning a French musical (7)
{TUNEFUL} – put an anagram (playing) of FLUTE around (penning) the French indefinite article to get an adjective meaning musical

20d         Skinhead that is supporting supporters’ club (7)
{BRASSIE} – put the initial letter (head) of Skin and the Latin abbreviation of “that is” after those overworked supporting garments to get an old-fashioned golf club

22d         Canine, often royal, grows intimate initially (5)
{CORGI} – one of the Queen’s dogs comes from the initial letters of the first five words in the clue

This more “politically correct” Ray T puzzle could please some!

The Quick crossword pun: {buy} + {sick} + {hurl} = {bicycle}


  1. Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I think Ray T is softening us up for a big fall in the future. It was only when I read BD’s review of the across clues that it was confirmed that it was a Ray T. Many thanks to both.

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      The big giveaway is the Quick crossword – single word clues and answers.

      • Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        I haven’t looked at the quickie yet – I’ve had to burst out in a spot of work to satisfy the bank manager.

        • Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          Erk, rather you than me.

          • Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            It is most inconvenient but Mrs S will insist on being clothed & fed so I’ve no option.

      • crypticsue
        Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        and 1d in the Quick too!!

      • Kath
        Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        and Queen!

        • Franco
          Posted February 16, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          Doesn’t Ray T usually have all single word solutions in the cryptic? It’s true of his latest two offerings – I would go back further in my investigations, but I don’t want to appear to be even more of a nerd!

          With the lack of any obvious double entendre, I thought it might be a “Ray T” impersonator.

          • Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            No, he has never said that. It is true of many of his puzzles, but not all of them.

          • Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

            Here’s his comment on the subject:


          • Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            He’s also acquired a sexy new avatar!

            • Franco
              Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

              I’ve noticed his new avatar – seems to be backward compatible – can’t find his previous one!

              Double unches?

              • Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

                Avatars are generated from the email address, and when added/changed all earlier comments change as well.

  2. Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable RayT today although I did find it a little start/stop, ie I started, I stopped, I went D’Oh, I started, etc. (It didn’t help that I wrote the answer to 9A in the space for 8A -double D’Oh).Some very clever cluing and some very pleasant surface reading. Although it wasn’t the most difficult of clues, I really enjoyed 17D.

    I wonder what Gazza would have used to illustrate 1A ?

    • Sheepdog
      Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      i had similar problem; I put answer to 6d in the space for 5d

  3. Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I agree that this was a tad easier for a Ray T. Maybe I was a bit sleepy this morning but I thought it lacked some of his usual sparkle.

  4. SpikeyMikey
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Like skempie found this enjoyable and a bit start stop and d’ohy :-) Some nice cleaver clues – liked 22d, 10d and 21a. A gentle start to my day. Thanks to Big Dave for the hints and tips – off to do the Toughie

    • SpikeyMikey
      Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Opps clever :-)

      • Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        I like the sound of cleaver clues – can use them to hack away at the rest of the puzzle.

        • SpikeyMikey
          Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          Hmm – indeed indeed – Im looking for cleaver clues in the Toughie at the moment!

    • Tridymite
      Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Your choice of favourite clues was the same as mine but I would add 12a which made me smile.

  5. Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    A good start to my Thursday. no real problems but overall I thought quite enjoyable . slightly more than 2* for me but definitely not 3*. Thanks to BD for the review.

  6. Jezza
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Thanks to RayT for the usual quality puzzle, and to BD for the review. Gentle, but enjoyable today.

  7. Kath
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this but missed his usual trademark “rude” clues, unless I’ve overlooked something which is, as always, possible. Unlike everyone else so far I didn’t think it was easier than usual – I was terribly slow to get going and thought that I was going to have trouble with it. Probably closer to a 3* for difficulty, for me. 12a was my last one and I’m not quite sure where the first word of 7d comes from – will wait for the down hints. 22d reminds me of one of my favourite clues from Ray T – can’t remember the whole clue well enough to quote it but the answer was “thong”!! I liked 9, 21 and 23a and 1, 10, 18 and 22d. With thanks to Ray T and BD.

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I’ve just added 7 down!

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Re first word of 7D – its where a flight (of stairs) starts

    • gazza
      Posted February 16, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      I think the Ray T clue you can’t remember is:

      It’s tiny, hardly obscuring naked glutes initially (5)

      • Kath
        Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes – thanks Gazza – I knew it was something like that but thought it better not to run the risk of misquoting.

      • Franco
        Posted February 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        “Thong” – 20a in DT26652 – illustrated by a picture in extremely bad taste!


        • Kath
          Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

          Terrible taste, I’m sure – really can’t remember it but I can have a pretty good guess!!

  8. crypticsue
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    1* difficulty and 3* fun for me today. Thanks to Ray and BD too.

    Petitjean is on the more user-friendly side (for him anyway) in today’s Toughie.

  9. Posted February 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Pedant’s corner time following BD’s picture clue. Del Boy’s car was not a Reliant Robin – it was a Reliant Regal Supervan.

    • captainlethargy
      Posted February 17, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I was always told it was a Reliant Rialto. Will have to go and look them up now.

  10. BigBoab
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Agree completely with Crypticsue re markings and also re Petitjeans toughie. Thanks RayT and BD, loved the pictures at 1a and 2d. ( purely from a sporting and artistic viewpoint of course )

  11. Posted February 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I agree with BD in that this was easier than normal for a Ray T. He normally gets the difficulty/ enjoyment balance spot on. Nevertheless really liked it and went through quite quickly.Fave was 12a. Hope Spindrift isnot as spot on as usual, though I have a feeling that big fall is coming.Thanks to Ray T & BD.

  12. Posted February 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Ditto all of the above but no less fun. THanks to RayT and to BD. The Toughie doesn’t require such a mad hat either, in my opinion.

  13. Franny
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this today and didn’t have too much trouble with it. Had a bit of a problem with 12a as not acquainted with that kind of Robin, also with 16a. I was glad of the explanation, BD, but you mentioned ‘crown’ rather than ‘crowd’ and I wondered if I might have a typo. There were plenty of cleaver clues, but the ones I liked best were 6d and 17d. Many thanks to BD and Ray T.

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      It was indeed a typo – so thanks.

      Unfortunately the spellchecker doesn’t pick up that kind of stupidity.

  14. Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Afternoon everyone – from a not very warm vega baja. Cold wind today even though Mr Sun is gracing us with his presence!
    Not too difficult today and got all the answers fairly easily although there’s a couple I’m not too happy about.

    12a. Is Robin not doing “double duty” ? ie Producer of Robin – and Robin’s start. Otherwise it could be a producer of just about anything.
    24a. Never heard sink uses to mean slip.

    Otherwise a nice enjoyable puzzle. Thanks RayT and BD.

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Robin is indeed doing double duty, but it’s a sort of semi-&Lit clue.

  15. Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Great fun! Thought 20d was the best.

  16. Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    After a full morning seminar on ‘ealth & safely legislation this was indeed much needed light relief. Thanks to Ray T, and to BD for the “nicely balanced” set of pictorial punctuations.

  17. Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Of course, I would have used a much less gratuitous picture for 1a, but a less entertaining one :grin:

    As pommette said, a nice enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to RayT and BD

  18. Heno
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T & Big Dave for the review & hints & pictures. Thought I was going to struggle at first, but then it all fell into place, agree with Dave’s star ratings, enjoyable too. Favourites were 3,4,7 and 9. Last in was 20. Rock on Ray!

  19. Maximus
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    The answers to 2d and 20d were unfamiliar to me until last night when thay appeared in a chapter of “TheHeart of the Goof.” I wonder if the setter has been reading P G Wodehouse recently?

  20. jampudd
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    as a cryptic newbie this was a 3* for me.managed to complete about 70% before resorting to my books.
    23a , 20d , 16a beat me in the end.
    i am getting better and its the first thing i look at when i get my paper
    thanks to ray t & big dave

  21. Annidrum
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    At first reading thought this was going to be really tough but got going and found it a very enjoyable puzzle .Thanks to Ray T and to BD as I had to look at his hint for 20d. :smile: Testament to how long it took me to complete Tuesday’s puzzle , on completion got up from the position I had been sitting in for mmmm ages ,fell flat on my face ,as my foot had been sleeping and sprained my ankle :grin:

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Ouch! At least now you’ve got an excuse for somebody to get you the paper & furnish you with lots of tea & biscuits while you recover.

      • Annidrum
        Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink


    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      You need to get yourself a dog who’ll run down to the pub to summon help (and beer of course)

  22. mary
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dave late in today have been out for the day, finished this first of course, I didn’t think it was RayT because of the two word answers and also it seemed a bit easy for one of his, so I was chuffed to finish it before going out, no complaints and no real favourites today, have to go out agin now, thanks for blog Dave a two to three star for me today! :-)

  23. Don Pedro
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this one, especially after Tuesday’s effort which left me feeling that I must finally be losing it! Struggled with 23a due to confusing a roof style with political reports. Also spent a little too long with “Titbits” and “Baldie”. Overall 2* for me. On to the Toughie now to attempt a record two unaided in one week.

  24. Wozza
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Well what a funny week. Needed help with Monday and Tuesday but managed Wednesday and today. A complete reversal of normal. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

    Given the pictures debate you missed an opportunity or two with 7d and 18d but probably just as well!

    Happy Friday to all.


  25. Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to BD for the analysis, and to all who took the time to comment. Apologies for the lack of sauciness in this puzzle, but sometimes my mind becomes unusually clean when I’m writing the clues!

    Normal service should shortly be resumed…


    • Kath
      Posted February 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      I really look forward to the normal service being resumed – as soon as possible, although I enjoyed today’s puzzle!

  26. Addicted
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Very much enjoyed this offering, which I completed in two fairly short sittings due to other commitments, so thanks Ray T! Got some “backwards” as it were – i.e. 1d – having failed to make an anagram of drug den I mused aloud “well, a depression in the road is surely a ******* ” – doh and double doh as the penny dropped with a loud clang! Still, does it matter how you get them, provided you DO get them?? Thanks for hints BD – need a couple of explanations to-day if not, for once! – for help.

  27. Tmdess
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi – In 9a, “hum” is described as a “smell”…I’ve never heard that before? Is it slang, or am I missing something?

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi Tmdess

      Yes, it’s a bit of slang. One of the definitions in the BRB is ‘a strong and unpleasant smell’.

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      I refer once again to the BRB!

      Hum noun * The noise of bees * A murmurous sound * An inarticulate murmur * The sound of humming * A strong unpleasant smell (slang)

      Yes, it’s slang. My guess is that it is probably from the sound of flies around rotting meat.

      • Posted February 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        That’s what happens when you use the “reply to comment by email” feature without reading all the emails. [The blog poster gets an email every time someone leaves a comment.]

  28. Tmdess
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks — what’s BRB.?

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      The Big Red Book – Chambers Dictionary!

      • Tmdess
        Posted February 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        I’m visiting the UK next week and I plan to buy one! Thanks…

        • Franco
          Posted February 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          Cheaper via Amazon, methinks. Also, less excess baggage charges! Ask, pommers.

        • Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

          Where in the world are you? I had one delivered by Amazon to me here in Spain at about half UK shop price and no delivery charge!

      • Posted February 17, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Play.com is selling the Chamber’s Crossword dictionary for £16.19 and the BRB 12th for £16.50 both in HB. Or you could upgrade to the thumb indexed version for £25.10 – postage free

  29. Derek
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Late input from me as had visitors.
    Faves : 1a, 11a, 12a, 23a, 3d, 7d, 17d & 20d.

  30. jaehancock
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Love the illustration for 1d. Such problems with the asphalt are so detested by road users and councils are generally slammed for allowing such problems to exist (even if it’s wicked weather that’s caused roads to be wrecked). Maybe councils should use rubber ducks to flag up problem patches, to alleviate public fury before they (the council) have had a chance to repair roads. Nice puzzle today – thanks to the setter and BD for confirmation of answers.

  31. Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Just a quick word of thanks for the excellent version of Lithium at 9a – world class music!.

    • Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Oh – Forgot to say that we had NIBLICK in the Times today. The only other puzzle that I solved today was Anax’s Independent and he negelcted to include MASHIE – how very careless!

  32. TimCypher
    Posted February 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one, and I agree with BD that it was easier than the usual Ray T offering.
    5d I needed the hint for (wasn’t too familiar with that word), and, although I had written it in based on the checking letters, I was interested to know the mechanics behind 16a.
    The usual excellent range of clues and wit from this setter, tho’! :)