DT 26802 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 26802

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26802

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

If you don’t think this puzzle is from Petitjean, go away and do the Quick crossword and then come back! For me this was a pedestrian puzzle which lacked any sparkle. I’m sure others will have a different opinion.

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.


4a    Scene of coppers’ beat before start of trouble (8)
{PROSPECT} – to get this scene, put an anagram (beat) of COPPERS before the initial letter (start) of Trouble

8a    Composer’s cold invitation to hitch-hiker (6)
{CHOPIN} – this Polish-born French composer and pianist is a charade of C(old) and a phrasal verb (3,2) that might be an invitation to hitch-hiker

9a    Make fun of a learner with deadpan coarse humour (8)
{RIBALDRY} – a charade of a verb meaning to make fun of, A from the clue, L(earner) and an adjective meaning deadpan gives this coarse humour

10a    Old-fashioned accommodation for English troops under canvas (8)
{TENEMENT} – one of a set of apartments in one building, each occupied by a separate family, is derived by putting E(nglish) and some troops inside a portable shelter (under canvas)

11a    Letters collected in this sample of epistolary art nicely (2-4)
{IN-TRAY} – a shallow container where letters are collected together is hidden (sample of) and reversed (reviewed) inside the clue

12a    Ex-serviceman’s admitted aim to get thanks may cause feud (8)
{VENDETTA} – start with a North American term for an ex-serviceman and then insert (admitted) an aim and add a two-letter word of thanks to get a feud – I prefer that American words be indicated as such; it would be just as easy to put “US ex-serviceman”

13a    It’s futile ignoring the odds to indulge a Conservative (8)
{NUGATORY} – an adjective meaning futile that is rarely seen outside of crosswords (try running a search in Google and the most of the early entries are explaining the meaning of the word!) is built up from the even letters (ignoring the odds) of iNdUlGe followed by A and a Conservative

16a    Place too much importance on bowlers’ speed (8)
{OVERRATE} – split this word meaning to place too much importance on as (4,4) and you have the bowlers’ speed (the number per hour rather than the miles per hour)

19a    A fresh flower is opening (8)
{APERTURE} – a charade of A from the clue, an adjective meaning fresh or impudent and a river (flower) in North Yorkshire to get an opening

21a    Ecstasy comes with doubly good — no, grand — hot drink (6)
{EGGNOG} – string together E{cstasy), G(ood) G(ood) (doubly good), NO and G(rand) to get a hot drink

23a    Two versions of Flog It may be a pain in the neck (8)
{WHIPLASH} – combine two verbs meaning to flog (ignoring the gratuitous capitalisation) to get a pain in the neck

24a    Punch-drunk maniac or legendary heavyweight? (8)
{MARCIANO} – an anagram (punch-drunk) of MANIAC OR gives the surname of this legendary heavyweight – the greatest fighter the world has ever seen and the only heavyweight champion to have won every one of his fights, all bar six of them by knocking out his opponent

25a    Moldovan capital is highly attractive for loner (6)
{MISFIT} – the initial letter (capital) of Moldovan followed by IS and an adjective meaning highly attractive gives this loner or nonconformist

26a    As many churches are braced to welcome priest (8)
{STEEPLED} – an adjective that describes many churches is created by putting a word meaning braced around P(riest)


1d    Which person, though, swaps house with wife? (7)
{WHOEVER} – to get this word meaning which person start with a similar word meaning though and swap the HO(use) and W(ife)

2d    Loan ordinary Tottenham player out — that’s brilliance (9)
{SPLENDOUR} – a verb meaning to loan and O(rdinary) have a general word for a Tottenham player outside to get this brilliance

3d    Scoff when private joke is overheard (6)
{INGEST} – a verb meaning to scoff or devour if split (2,4) sounds like (overheard) a private joke

4d    PR ‘war’ amounted to revamped 5 for instance (11,4)
{PORTMANTEAU WORD} – an anagram (revamped) of PR WAR AMOUNTED TO gives the term invented by Lewis Carroll to describe 5 down – other examples are slithy and brunch

Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
All mimsy were ye borogoves;
And ye mome raths outgrabe.

5d    Blues’ home game — behind 0-10 (8)
{OXBRIDGE} – a 4 down used for the dark and light blues is derived from a game played at home (or at a local club by Pommers and Pomette) preceded by (behind) O and the Roman numeral for 10

6d    One involved in conspiracy is high-flier (5)
{PILOT} – put I (one) inside a conspiracy to get a high-flier – like our very own Digby!

7d    Gosh! Soprano melody could be one from ‘The Pirates Of Penzance’ (7)
{CORSAIR} – a charade of an expression similar to gosh!, S(oprano) and a melody gives another name for a pirate

14d    Vulgar predilections absorbing the French (9)
{TASTELESS} – to get an adjective meaning vulgar put some predilections or preferences around (absorbing) the French plural definite article – I didn’t like this one as the answer is simply the negative of the main part of the wordplay

15d    Painful excrescence is damn secure (8)
{HANGNAIL} – this painful excrescence is a piece of torn skin – it’s a charade of a word like damn and a verb meaning to secure

17d    Elderly relative duty-bound to be wandering (7)
{VAGRANT} – put an elderly relative inside a tax (duty-bound) to get an adjective meaning wandering

18d    Radical theatrical mother making way for son (7)
{DRASTIC} – to get this adjective meaning radical or extreme start with an adjective meaning theatrical and replace (making way for) MA (mother) with S(on)

20d    Unexpected gem in a puzzle (6)
{ENIGMA} – an anagram (unexpected) of GEM IN A gives a puzzle

22d    Pleasant entertaining hour in recess (5)
{NICHE} – put an adjective meaning pleasant around H(our) to get a recess

Let’s hope next Thursday will see the return of Ray T!

The Quick crossword pun: {homies} + {weather} + {hearties} = {home is where the heart is}

92 comments on “DT 26802

  1. Personally I enjoyed it, I thought it was a good stretch but doable. I thought the pun on the quickie was excellent but admit I had to look up the 60’s song even though I knew the band.

  2. Not that difficult – a gentle stroll! Enjoyed it with mtcup of tea in the sunny garden! Still needed a thick woolie :-)

  3. I really enjoyed it, myself. Agree with you about 14d, Dave. But I thought there were lots of excellent devices going on and varied wordplay. Never heard of 13a, but fortunately the subsidiary indication was a giveaway. Thanks to the setter and BD for review.

  4. I cannot say that I enjoyed this much at the time of solving, but perhaps I got out of bed on the wrong side this morning.
    My last one in was 5d, and I have no idea why – the wordplay was fair enough.
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

  5. I am afraid I found this one really hard. It took me ages to only solve 2 clues! I had managed about 10 more without your hints, but some of them I would never have got (4d for example) and I had never heard of 24 a! I found the nw corner really hard to solve, but most were so obvious when you have the hints – so thanks very much.

  6. Good morning Dave, don’t quite understand 2d, nothing to do with your favourite team then? I found this quite tough finishing the bottom half eventually with the top completely blank except for 4d, to be honest I’d never heard this before but I reckon ‘perservation’ could be one :-) , A3/4* for me today, It was workable but a lot of work for me, with books and electronic friends very much in use! Unecessary use of obscure words in a couple of cases IMHO, fav clue today 26a, 1d last to go in, I knew it had to be that but I couldn’t work out which ‘h’ or ‘w’ to swop , I always forget house can be ‘ho’ , good luck everyone, keeeep perservating :-)

    1. Mary, 2D has everything to with Dave’s team. A member of Spurs is a Spur which is put round another word for loand and O for ordinary.

      1. Thanks skempie thats what I thought but Daves hint threw me a bit, I suppose it should say player and not play maybe?

          1. no problem I just stupidly thought on reading it that it must be to do with some obscure play and not with the team as I had thought!! Oh shut up Mary!

    2. With you all the way here. Very tricky today, needed all my electronic help and must say I thought 4d both obscure and very unfair. However, nice to see the lilywhites get a mention esp after last weekend and against the gooners as well. That hurt!

  7. I enjoyed it! I needed the hints to explain 11a (I missed the reversed and in the middle bit of the clue) and also 4a (somehow I missed the fact that it was an anagram)! I haven’t heard of the 24a “legendary boxer” but that was obviously an anagram and wasn’t too sure about the “Tottenham player” in 2d. I thought there were some good clues – 23 and 25a and 3, 7 and 17d. Best, for me, today was 8a. With thanks to the setter and BD.
    Cold – foggy – generally beastly here today! :sad:

  8. Thoroughly good fun today which needed a bit of thinking about. 25A was the last one in for me as I was trying to justify putting MYSTIC in.
    I thought 8A and 17D were very good clues indeed and nice to see that for all those complaining yesterday about replacing two letters with four, today we replace two letters with one to redress the balance.
    Like Wozza, I had to check up on the song in the quickie which is a bit annoying as MM came from my home town (Gosport) and we used to go and see them long before they were famous (I was only a sprog at the time though).

    On a completely unrelated note, I thought the Mat cartoon was superb today, one of the best I have ever seen, still chuckling about it now.

  9. I found this quite testing, took ages to get first 4/5 clues, and then it slowly all fell into place.
    Recourse to dictionary for epistolary, now know what it means, doh moment when I realised understanding wasn’t required.

    Flower, of course, silly me.

    Thanks to compiler and BD for hints and tips.

    1. I’m always suspicious of unusual words I don’t know Colmce, very often you don’t need to know what they mean but it’s always good to learn a new word, remembering it is my problem!

  10. I would give this 3.5* for difficulty as it took me far longer to sort out than a back page puzzle usually does. I did like 11a, not least because mine today is overflowing and not leaving much time for sneaky crossword solving :( I thought it a particularly beastly quick puzzle too although I am old enough to remember the song and have been singing it in my head all morning :)Thanks to Petitjean and BD too.

    The Toughie puts up a fight and then when you have finished you can’t see why. I thought my fellow bloggers were really nice people but have slightly gone off two of them this morning – one telling me that the Paul in the Guardian is outstanding and the other telling me he was just off to solve it on a bus journey. I am too busy to do either. I really really must retire.

    1. I liked the Toughie today, although there is one pesky 4-letter clue that I cannot parse for the life of me. Awaiting Bufo!

        1. Need a hint?? (She said naughtily). You had better be quick if you do as I have to escort a ‘victim’ to an interview in another building shortly.

        2. If it’s the same 4-letter one that gave me problems then CS put me out of my misery earlier (he said smugly).

  11. Thought this was a superb crossword! Being a Yid, I liked 2d. Can’t remember the last time I saw so many good clues. Especially liked 8a,9a,23a,5d,15d & 18d. Thanks to BD and the setter for a great start to the day.

    1. I don’t understand what 2d has to do with being a Yid – are we, in this age of PC-ness, allowed to use that word?!! :smile:

      1. There is a certain Irony as they were originally set up as a Christian Boys football club. It was obviously too Gentile :)

        1. Kath, the said community is Stamford Hill which is close to Tottenham, so Spurs are known as the yids. Ironically Arsenal probably have more Jewish supporters than Spurs, but we are known as the Gooners. It’s all football I’m afraid.

        2. Thanks – didn’t know any of that. It’s always the football ones that get me! :sad:

  12. Nothing to do with the crossword but if anyone gets a chance to see ‘The Last Exotic Marigold Hotel’ please do, we saw it last night,so funny and poignant in parts, a must for anyone in my age group :-D

    1. It is recommended in a column in the paper today too – apart from being good, it is recommended as a ‘film to take your grandparents to’!

    2. We haven’t seen it but SO many people keep telling us that we should – maybe we will get out of the habit of waiting for films to come out on DVD.

    3. My wife and I went to see it on Tuesday and we both said it was one of the best, funniest and most poignant films we had ever watched, I didn’t fancy it too much but really enjoyed it, for me Bill Nighey stole the show. Pure Dead Brilliant, as we say up here. ( Happy St. Davids Day )

    4. Thanks for the recommendation Mary, just got home from seeing this very enjoyable film, not been to the ‘Pictures’ for at least 15 years, golly isn’t it loud!! And here’s me, I can’t hear the telly, but the noise in the cinema is almost unbearable. Even so Thanks Mary, wonderful film.

    5. Saw it yesterday am at Silver screening at Broadway Cinema Nottingham. Agree entirely. Some brilliant lines and favourite actors. Double pleasure for me as have stayed at a similar hotel in Jaipur which, at the time, I thought was the Indian equivalent of Fawlty Towers.

  13. Thanks Petitjean and BD
    Enjoyed this very much – I do like it when I construct a hitherto unknown word (to me, that is) and find it’s the correct solution. Nugatory in this case.

  14. I quite enjoyed this but did struggle with a few, thanks to Petitjean and to Big Dave.

  15. Well i sat down with the customary Blacksheep and immediately got 20D and then. Nothing.

    A whole pint later inspiration (or the brewery) took hold and I felt very pleased with self for getting 5D and then 4D and 23A.

    That’s it thus far but I have to ask would you say 4 and 5D were 3* clues and thereby is this representative of what I am to look forward to?

    1. Portmanteau words have come up in a number of puzzles – while the first one you see may prove difficult, the rest are usually quite easy.

      1. Thanks. 4D seems worth having as have quickly filled in a few adjoining clues my assault on 26,802 now being supported by a bag of chilli nuts.

        2*-3* enjoyment for me so far.

  16. Best puzzle of the week so far. Thought 9 11 and 19 were very good. 26 was most difficult imo and was my last solve.Thanks to mystery setter – hopefully back to RayT next week.

  17. Thanks to Petitjean & to Big Dave for the review & hints. I quite enjoyed this one, very tricky though, needed a couple of hints to complete. Never heard of 4d or 13a, live & learn. Favourites were 8,23,24a. Sun out at last in central London, spring has sprung :-)

  18. A moment of pedantry – 26A. I believe some churches rather than ‘man’y would be correct given that the answer is very much in the minority.

  19. ***/*** For me today,some clever clues and a word i did not know the meaning of-13a
    Today’s toughie is about ***/*** as well so worth a go if you.ve got time

    1. I think it’s two words, part of each put together to make a new one, don’t know if you find the new ones in dictionaries though?

        1. Ah that makes sense. Amazing you can get to 64 and still learn something new every day :-)

  20. Thought today’s was quite tricky but agree with BD that it lacked sparkle. Would never have got 4d without the Crossword Solver app on my phone even though I’d worked out it was an anagram. Never heard of 13a which was the last one to go in – thanks to Dictionary.com’s Thesaurus (again on my phone).
    @nicat you’ve never heard of 24a? Where have you been? or are you 10 years old?

    1. I’ve never heard of 24a either, and no, I’m not ten years old!! Just don’t take a huge amount of notice of boxing, rugby, football, golf ….. I could go on but most people have already heard it!! :smile:

        1. Better than “never lost” he won all 49 of them. I got up very early to listen to his fight against Don Cockell on the radio in 1955.

  21. Your site is invaluable for people trying to master the wonder of the Cryptic Crossword

    May you carry on

  22. Definitely more like 4* for me but I have to admire the cleverness of the clues. 4d was the key and although I figured out it was an anagram and had the second word it took crossword solver to find the first one. Also too many sporting clues for me. I think I quite enjoyed it though . I guessed it was Petitjean.

  23. Just done. Way too many minutes of my life given for the last 5 clues and I still don’t get 1D.

    3*/2* is a completely fair summary.

  24. I got through this rather quickly and found it fine if not as challenging or amusing as some petitjean puzzles. Thanks to him and to BD for the review.

  25. Big struggle for me to-day – got the l/h side fairly easily and then sat, and sat, and sat……. and finally resorted to hints. Never heard of 13a and as for 4d – although I more or less got the anagram I couldn’t for the life of me see what it had to do with the clue, so didn’t enter it! Still, we live and learn and if BD says 4d is neither unfair nor obscure, then we must bow to his judgement! (Yes – everyone should go see Marigold Hotel – it’s just a most lovely film.)

  26. Well, it was a vast improvement on last Thursday, but nothing like yesterday’s romp. Least favourite (apart from 13a which has already been rightly criticised) was 19a. If you’ve got enough crossing letters I suppose you might be able to get it, but if not then somehow you have to guess Ure from flower, as if it’s one of only a handful of rivers in the world. It’s as bad as “flyer” being used to indicate one of the thousands of bird species or “lad” for a boy’s name. When you know the answer, it’s possible work out how the clue is constructed, but getting the answer from the clue is nigh on impossible.

  27. Having just picked up my pen to take a look at this (a busy day), I was struck by how used one can get to particular setters’ styles and use of English. I found this hard going, staring at it like a new addition to the periodic table, until I became a bit more accustomed to how the setter constructed the clues. In the first instance I found the puzzle annoying, followed by enjoyable – having to adopt a different mindset; but finally, it was a little pedestrian (thanks BD).

    That said I do think that we can rest on our laurels on the odd occasion, and for me this was a nice little wake-up call, which reminded me that I started to do these puzzles for the challenge and the introspective thinking that they induce.

    1. If you haven’t already done so try the NTSPP on Saturdays, Carty. I agree with you that it’s easy to get used to particular setters styles – I only started doing the “extra” one on Saturdays quite recently – I’ve really enjoyed them all – sometimes they are a bit too difficult for me but it’s how we learn and when you get defeated there’s always someone around to “pick up the pieces”!

      1. I do take the occasional look at the NTSPP, the only problem is that I like the feel of paper in my hand when looking at a puzzle, I just cannot get used to looking at it on a screen. Maybe something to do with the heat generated by my ancient laptop.

        1. These is always a link through to obtain a PDF version that you can print off and solve off line.

          1. I will not argue my case. I know that this subject has been debated here before. That said I will have a Saturday to myself soon so will sit down and give it a serious trial.

      1. For me, always introspective. The lateral bit is just to solve a clue. I find that Giovanni is the setter that causes the most introspection… not always a good thing mind you.

  28. I thought it was challenging but enjoyable and scored 8a and 19d the best. Definitely one to keep plugging away and I had to get away from the idea of the Blues’ home being Goodison. We are now making our customary second half climb up the table and in better shape to take on Mary’s moneyed Reds. Thanks to PJ and BD.

  29. Too hard again on a Thursday! Did all yesterday bar GODOWN but felt like a novice again today. There’s always tomorrow to have another go at!

  30. I found this a lot easier than some of PJ’s back page crosswords and enjoyable to solve. Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

  31. Even though I only finished about two thirds of this crossword, I definitely preferred this to last weeks. The ones I did get were enjoyable.

    1. Jerome,
      Your comment had to be moderated because you’ve dropped the “B” from your alias. From now on either should work.

  32. Thanks for your help with 26,802. I’m a very occasional crossword person, mainly on holidays, and I usually go for the Telegraph because they’re usually doable even if it take me a couple of days! However, this particular one was the worst kind of crossword and the least enjoyable that I can remember. Too self-indulgent on the part of the compiler, and too many clues that you have to work backwards from the assumed answer to understand, and even then too convoluted. Very little satisfaction in this one but delighted to have you around to enable me at least to come to that conclusion! Please keep up the excellent work.


Comments are closed.