DT 26799 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26799

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26799

Hints and tips by Digby

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

After a week of celebration in Crosswordland, normal service is resumed with today’s challenge from “our” brand-new octogenarian. Rufus provides us with another gentle and enjoyable start to the week – his consistency never fails to impress.

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           Redeeming feature of a loan, perhaps (4,6)
{PAWN TICKET} The receipt that one would obtain when exchanging some valuables for cash.

9a           Information given by grass, say? (4)
{DOPE} A double definition of terms used to describe both “inside” information and a recreational drug.

10a         Mysterious form of harvest rotation? (4,6)
{CROP CIRCLE} Features created by aliens (?) that appear overnight in the countryside.

11a         Novelist has an American number (6)
{AUSTEN} This 18/19thC. English novelist is built up of A (an), the standard abbreviation for the States, and a 2-digit number.

12a         A match for the devil (7)
{LUCIFER} A double definition of something you strike, and another name for Satan. (also the planet Venus, when appearing as the morning star)

15a         Aspired to become a literary giant (7)
{DESPAIR} Be warned – this clue may cause a little consternation amongst some of our solvers! It’s an anagram (to become) of ASPIRED, and results in the giant in The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan!

16a         Consequently we had scattered (5)
{SOWED} We are looking for a synonym for scattered (not an anagram of WE HAD is I initially thought). A word for consequently, followed by an abbreviation of my misplaced anagram fodder.

17a         Sponges theatre-managers like on their seats (4)
{BUMS} In theatre-land it’s all about putting these on seats, and also a slang term for those asking for your loose change.

18a         A most unfair description (4)
{UGLY} A gently cryptic definition of something / one not blessed with good looks.

19a         Badly riled, he’s not keen to work (5)
{IDLER} Fairly obvious anagram (badly) of RILED produces a lazy individual.

21a         Sells or tells (7)
{RETAILS} A double definition of what both  a shop-keeper and a story-teller does.

22a         Novel, article and story (7)
{RECITAL} Novel indicates an anagram of ARTICLE, and results in a synonym for a story.

24a         Spinner quietly stands by the French pitch (6)
{TOPPLE} A word for a spinning toy, P (quietly) and the masculine French definite article produce a word meaning to plunge forward, or over-balance.

27a         Wealth is about to provide security for a girl in nursery story (10)
{GOLDILOCKS} Start with a precious metal, then wrap IS (about) something used to prevent unwanted entry, and derive a girl who got involved with a trio of ursine creatures.

28a         Rebel is held by soldiers (4)
{RISE} Rebel is the definition, used as a verb. Our trusty Royal Engineers hold “IS”

29a         Only staged irregularly, but in UK it’s always in June (7,3)
{LONGEST DAY} An anagram (irregularly) of the first 2 words in the clue gives an event that occurs on, or near, June 21st.


2d           Measure about a hundred to start with (4)
{ACRE} This measure (also a factor in 14D) is built up of A, Roman letter for 100, followed by “about”.

3d           One living in high mountains, alpine perhaps? (6)
{NEPALI} An anagram (perhaps) of alpine produces an inhabitant of a sovereign state in South Asia.

4d           They’re frozen in suspense (7)
{ICICLES} Cryptic definition of what hang down from guttering in winter.

5d           Put the boot in for a bit of excitement (4)
{KICK} Double definition, the second involving an adrenalin rush.

6d           Given medical care at another’s expense? (7)
{TREATED} What the doctor did to patients / bought a round of drinks.

7d           Proceed directly to lead an honest life? (2,8)
{GO STRAIGHT} In Monopoly this instruction sends you directly to Jail. And when you come out, you are said to do this.

8d           Mint copper sovereign (10)
{PENNYROYAL} This plant of the mint family is built from the basic unit of our currency, and an adjective describing a Sovereign.

12d         Due to disruption, giving boy art oral in the science room (10)
{LABORATORY} The anagram indicator (initial part of the clue) is also a nice piece of wordplay. BOY ART ORAL produces  a room full of Bunsen burners and test tubes.

13d         Happen to reach gap in hills (4,2,4)
{COME TO PASS} A phrase describing the occurrence of an event (often used in the Bible) is also how one might define arriving at an upland road.

14d         Area measures, out of doors (5)
{ROODS} These areas are equal to a quarter of an acre (or 40 poles) and are an anagram (out of) DOORS

15d         Put off Edward’s rise with hesitation (5)
{DETER} The definition is to put off, and is derived from reversing (rise) an abbreviation for Edward, followed by the usual small hesitation.

19d         Criminal is laid up, having broken a leg (7)
{ILLEGAL} A verb meaning criminal, or unlawful, is a word for poorly, followed by an anagram (broken) of A LEG

20d         Note given to the ill will get a rest (7)
{RESPITE} A word meaning care for the ill is also a term for as rest, or reprieve. (see Comments 6 & 7 belowI think that Jezza et al are correct, and my thanks for the alternative definition. To avoid confusion, I’ll leave mine on view)

23d         I’m given job in charge (6)
{IMPOST} I’M followed by a synonym for a job results in this tax, or duty.

25d         Blueprint of factory nearing completion (4)
{PLAN} Drop the final letter (nearing completion) of a word for factory to leave a synonym for a blueprint.

26d         Large bird raising smaller ones (4)
(SKUA} A bit of a chestnut to finish with – this large seabird is a reversal (raising) of penguin-like varieties.

A couple of clues took a bit of solving, which lifts this into 3* territory for me. But, what do you think?

Today’s Quickie Pun: {KILLER} + {HURTS} = {KILOHERTZ}

114 comments on “DT 26799

  1. Enjoyable start to the week but found the ne corner tough. Got 15a because of the anagram but the ref to literary giant had me completely fixed. Thx to Digby for the explanation.

  2. Very irritatingly, the iPad has a completely different puzzle – No.175. Found the paper one to be the usual good introduction to the week. Thanks to all concerned – but not to the gremlins at the Telegraph.

    1. Is the iPad version showing “Stories a good laugh? Repeatedly (3,5)” as the first across clue. If it is, it looks as though it is giving you the on-line weekly prize puzzle instead of the usual back page puzzle.

      1. Quick response received from Phil McNeill to say that they are aware of the issue and that IT are investigating.

        1. Hi Brian

          others have said where it’s to be found but I’d just add they’re usually fairly easy for the most part but always with a couple of obscurities in there somewhere. Published every Monday.

    2. They did exactly the same thing last week, Cryptic 174/175. Irritating, snotty e-mail being sent!

      How can I access the correct puzzle on the web?

  3. In toal agreement with Brian regarding 15a. Also stuck between 3 words for 20d – luckily chose the correct one. A great start to the week. Thanks to all.

  4. Good morning Digby, back to normal thank goodness, I was suffering withdrawal symptoms after two days (two of my favourite crossword days) of not doing the crossword due mainly to ‘sporting commitments’ !! What a weekend, all the right results thank goodness :-D, (sorry Dave but it was a weekend for the ‘Reds’), anyway back to Rufus, I found this a bit tougher than his normal Monday with a bit more GK than is usual? I went back and fore on 26d not knowing which way up to put it, to me the answer is the other way round which is what I put, this of course made that corner impossible!!! as usual lots of clues I liked with 29a (eventually) favourite, thanks to Rufus and Digby

    1. Hi Mary, up the reds! I leave you to guess which team :-) Re 26d I read it as large bird as the definition, so if you are turning smaller ones, plural, then the “s” is at top.

  5. Thanks to Rufus for a gentle start to the week, and to Digby for the notes.

    Re 20d, I thought the wordplay was a musical note, and a synonym for ill-will, and the definition ‘a rest’.

    1. I agree as well. I had 3 possible answers which gave a rest, but the ill-will was the bit that gave me the corrct answer.

    2. Thanks Jezza, Lord L, Mary, bifiled, Roland, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. You are of course correct. I have added a line to the hint, but have left my original explanation in place, or other readers won’t know to what you are referring.

  6. Digby – having had another look – 21d: surely the note is one sung by Maria in Sound of Music followed by a word meaning ‘ill-will’?

  7. 15a was the one that foxed me too. Anagram solved ok but had to wait for Digby’s explanation, must brush up on my English Literature. Apart from that one, a pleasureable start to the week for me. Thanks to Rufus & Digby.

  8. 2* for me today. Had to look up 15a (never read the book) and 23d (never heard of the word without ..er.. on the end) to check that my answers were correct, but apart from that all went in very nicely. Thanks to Rufus and to Digby.

  9. So I’m the ONLY twit who started off with “dark” for 18a?? Got that sorted out before it caused any problems. Along with others the reason for the “literary giant” in 15a defeated me, although the answer was obvious. Apart from those two I thought that this was straightforward and very enjoyable. I liked 10, 17, 27 and 29a and 7 and 12d. With thanks to Rufus and Digby.
    A bit on the grey, chilly and gloomy side here today after a weekend of beautiful weather.

    1. Hi Kath – no, not the only twit. I considered DARK too, but quickly figured out 7d & 8d to give the crossing letters.

  10. Very enjoyable start to the week. First in 10a and last in 23d. Favorites: 7d, 12d, 19d, 1a and 27a.

  11. Give it **/*** today,gentle start to the week as monday crosswords always were’ building to a friday’climax- no slough of despond today.

  12. Lovely sunny day at last, lovely Rufus puzzle! What better way to start the week? I agree with all about the ill will in 20d, had a slight problem with 24a, not thinking of ‘topple’ being a synonym for ‘pitch’, but apart from that it all went very smoothly. So thanks to Rufus, as ever, and to Digby for the analysis. :-)

    1. Hi Franny

      At the time, I also wondered about the synonym for 24a, but one definition of to pitch is ‘to plunge or fall forward or headlong’, which would have the same meaning as to topple.

    2. Hi Franny, we had a beautiful sunny weekend, warm enough to sit out in the garden lunchtimes but afraid back to gray skies today

  13. Usual nice start to the cryptic week, thank you Rufus. 2* difficulty, 3* fun. Thanks to Digby too – although I am not particularly enamoured of the pic for 17a, not least because it looks very uncomfortable :)

  14. Flew through this one at first, leaving only 15a and 8d after I had finished my coffee and toast. I had 15a pencilled in lightly, but was unaware of the source until Digby furnished the explanation above. Would never have got 8d without this page – I’m not a gardener!

  15. What a lovely puzzle. Rufus is my favourite setter. The crossword unfolded nicely with a few difficult clues which tested the grey matter. I would say 2* rather than 3* but nonetheless enjoyable for that. Reaching 80 has not deterred him

  16. Lovely puzzle, and I agree with Digby’s ratings and choice of pictures :-)

    My last one in was 9A; does this make me clean-living or just not very bright?

    Thanks to all involved.

  17. I understand from Digby’s hints that today’s puzzle is from Rufus-is this insider knowledge,or is there an easy way of identifying the setter? hope this isn’t a silly question.

  18. Thanks to Rufus and to Digby for the review & hints. Usual brilliance from Rufus, over too quickly. Needed hints for 1a & 11a. Favourites were 27 & 29 across, & 26d. Great start to the week in a cloudy central London.

  19. I prefer the American Indian kind of ‘Large Bird’ for 26 down. It made me laugh when I thought I had it right, and I still think you’re answer is no better. -Simon

    1. Either everyone is dying to ask this or I’m being particularly thick, but here goes…………the American Indian kind of large bird?…_K_A..?……

      1. Roland – 26d – I wanted to ask the question…. but I have waited awhile. Whatever the “clever” answer is …I very much doubt that it will fit in the grid or be appropriate to the clue. But, I am ready to be proved wrong!

          1. … or perhaps a non-starter – no reply yet! I’m glad that others asked the question, Roland and Franco! :smile: Now I feel sorry for Mr Spencer – perhaps he had a really cunning plan which, on closer scrutiny, just didn’t work.

            1. Thanks all (Franco, Digby, Kath, Gazza) – glad it wasn’t just me. Gazza – I did wonder if he may have been referring to SQUAW but wasn’t aware that SQUA was an abbr.

              1. Sorry so late to reply on this one- if anyone is still watching, I was thinking SKWA- alternative spelling of squaw, backwards of awks (alternative spelling of auks) and she does, after all, raise children (smaller ones)

                1. Hi Simon, I’m not sure if there is anyone else still “out there”, but as the Duty Blogger I get email alerts whenever anyone comments. As you can see, your suggestion set off an interesting chain of ideas and chat – which is the added value that this blog generates. It it was just a plain old “how to solve it” site, it wouildn’t be half as much fun. Do drop in any time you’re passing!

      2. I suspect that he’s thinking of SQUA, which according to the BRB, is a Massachuset spelling of squaw.

          1. It could be a rather loose, and non-PC, cryptic definition (i’m just guessing that this is what Simon had in mind).

  20. Enjoyable start to the week for me too. Altghough i was unfamilliar with 9A as information and 12A as a match. Thanks Digby for the explanations.

  21. Yes lovely puzzle and couldn’t allow myself to put that answer in for 15a until the last minute as I had never heard of the giant so thanks Digby for the hint and thanks also to Rufus. :smile:

  22. Im stuck on the iPad puzzle. Managed the bottom half but struggling on the top. If anyone has managed it and can provide clues to 7 and 11 they will be much appreciated!

    1. Not sure if allowed to just give answers 7 is A (from the clue) and a three letter word for good laugh. Then repeated to give the form of a novel if split into 3/4
      11 is a Norfolk village ( 2 words) with Ham removed to leave a word meaning lower standing or cheaper
      Hope that helps

    2. Hi Wozza

      Not sure I can add anything to Nigel’s hint above but, as this blog don’t cover the on-line prize puzzle, I guess anything goes!

      11a – I would suggest that it should be enumerated (4-7) but, as Nigel says, it’s a Norfolk town with ‘ham’ removed. Meaning pretty poor in comparison with the good stuff.

      7a – a phrase I’ve never come across before, for soap operas about the middle classes – to do with a type of range cooker popular in the 70’s/80’s.

      1. Having iPad – and there not being anything to indicate it was a prize puzzle, I assumed it was a normal, if unusually difficult, back page puzzle. Glad to know it wasn’t just me!

    1. Welcome to the blog Richard. We’re always pleased to hear opposing, provocative or amusing views. On this occasion I’m happy with the original definition.

    2. It’s an interesting theory, but you have “measure” doing double duty and “to start with” doing nothing. I agree with Digby’s analysis.

      1. The metric measurement is ARE (=100 sq.m) so Richard’s suggesting that would have C inside it, to make ACRE. However, as Dave says above, it doesn’t quite work with the clue.

        1. Thanks – never heard of ARE – dim AGAIN, or perhaps just ignorant!! :sad: However, I do agree that it doesn’t work with the clue!

            1. It’s worth remembering because the abbreviation of are, as metric measurement of area, is a. Some setters use this to clue an A in the answer.

    1. Hi Spike70 welcome to the blog. Sometimes more obscure words – quite typically plants – do appear in crosswords. Compilers tend to create user-friendly clues to compensate for this, and I feel that this is case in this instance.

  23. Nice start to the week, got stuck on 23d and had to use the hint’s, many thank’s to Digby and Rufus.:lol:

    1. As the up definition was plural, that left only one letter to find ie SK?A.
      This I will add to my memory bank from whence 2D and 9A came.
      Rufus’ are so elegantly constructed and, as above, gentle.
      Thanks and to Digby

  24. I must confess I thought this was going to be very easy but like others I found the NE tough. In fact I did not get 9a, 15a, 18a nor 8d. So the lesson is……..never under-estimate! Thanks for the review and for the interesting comments! Better luck tomorrow with 26,800.

  25. I too found this puzzle from Rufus a shade harder than usual mainly because I misspelt illegal in 19d and at first put alpini in for 3d. I was solving it in the twilight and so reading was difficult! Put the lights on eventually.

    Faves : 1a, 10a, 27a, 29a, 8d & 13d.

  26. Hi Digby

    Finally got home after bridge and then a visit to optician – new contact lenses installed and now I can actually SEE :grin:

    Anyway, a bit trickier than normal for a Rufus I thought – did our octagenerian mate have an extra Weetabix the morning he set this – or was that Shredded Wheat?

    Usual good stuff from the maestro though and I’d agree with the 3* rating.

    Thanks to Rufus (and for the more benign one in the Grauniad) and to Digby for the review that I’m now about to read while the meatballs cook :grin:

    1. I agree with both your comments – I think that lots of people are really fed-up with me saying how brilliant this site is so, whenever an opportunity presents itself, I take the chance to join in!! :grin:

  27. Enjoyed the review Digby!

    Funnily enough 9a was one of our last in. Should have been easy as we smoked enough of the stuff (and put it in cakes but that’s another story!) while we were students, or perhaps that’s the problem :grin:

    1. It obviously hasn’t done any long term damage to your brain – I still wonder about mine …. ! :grin:

    1. Hello Nigel, and welcome from me too! Our posts appear to have crossed a bit but don’t worry about putting answers in the blog on weekdays. Don’t do it on weekends though as you’ll end up with me in the naughty corner (it can get a bit crowded) , and crypticsue doesn’t bake enouigh lemon drizzle cake for that many people :grin:

    2. …and if there’s no space on the naughty corner you are always welcome to join me in the darkened room where I usually spend Wednesdays & Fridays with the rest of the mentally bewidered.

  28. Just read my way through all 99 commentas and most amusing they are ( Yoda speak?).

    Anyway great puzzle, great blog and now off to bed Smiley face yawning

    See y’all tomorrow.

    1. pommers, ..er….sorry,….forgot what I was going to say…..suddenly started yawning for some reason! :lol:

  29. Funnily enough, I’d heard of 15a’s giant – some of the other answers (1a, 8d and 26d) were not familiar terms to me.
    Not a bad puzzle, but not great either – no fave clues today.

  30. Enjoyed this crossword – a new record before consulting the blog – and getting better with time and practice.
    Thank you as always to the setters and those who provide all the clues.

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