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. spindrift

    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.

  2. skempie

    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 ?

  3. SpikeyMikey

    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

  4. bifield

    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.

  5. Kath

    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.

  6. crypticsue

    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.

  7. BigBoab

    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 )

  8. captainlethargy

    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.

  9. Franny

    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.

  10. pommette

    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.

  11. Digby

    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.

  12. pommers

    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

  13. Heno

    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!

  14. Maximus

    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?

  15. jampudd

    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

  16. Annidrum

    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:

  17. mary

    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! :-)

  18. Don Pedro

    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.

  19. Wozza

    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.


  20. RayT

    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

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

  21. Addicted

    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.

  22. Tmdess

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

    • Big Dave

      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.

      • Big Dave

        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.]

  23. jaehancock

    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.

    • gnomethang

      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!

  24. TimCypher

    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’! :)

Comments are closed.