DT 26804 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26804 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26804 (Hints)

Big Dave’s Crossword Club

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As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post before asking questions about the site.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.


1a           Shell makes vehicle fast (8)
The thick hard shell of the tortoise is a charade of a vehicle an adverb meaning fast or speedily

9a           Closely control, metering supply (8)
A very clever clue in which a verb meaning to closely control comes from an anagram (supply) of METERING

16a         Recall a trip possibly made by one on mushroom in fantasy (11)
Another clever clue in which an anagram (possibly) of RECALL A TRIP gives the creature that smoked a hookah while sitting on a mushroom in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

23a         Popular film in which girl meets sailor (6)
This high-grossing film is a charade of a three-letter girl’s name and a sailor

26a         A sneak initially enters secure window (8)
Put the A from the clue and the initial letter of Sneak inside (enters) a verb meaning to secure or join firmly to get a window that opens on vertical hinges


1d           Metal used in synchromesh (6)
This metallic element is hidden inside the final word of the clue

3d           Clean up English decorations (7)
Reverse (up) a verb meaning to clean and add what the Australians call the English to get some decorations

6d           Hospital worker — nut mostly employed by emergency room (7)
This medical social worker attached to a hospital is created by dropping the final D from a type of nut and adding the abbreviation of Emergency Room

8d           A daughter’s in jolly pickle (8)
Put A from the clue and D(aughter) inside a jolly, which is a slang word for a soldier serving on board ship, to get an alcoholic pickle in which fish, meat, etc. is steeped before cooking

14d         Cover for weapon to defy strike without least bit of damage (8)
This cover for a sword is a charade of a verb meaning to defy a strike, a preposition meaning without or except for and the initial letter (least bit) of Damage

19d         Shrivel up moving right forward, and feel embarrassment (6)
Take a word meaning to shrivel up and move the final R(ight) to be the second letter to get a verb meaning to feel embarrassment or squirm

20d         Doctor upset politician — it can cause serious damage (3,3)
Start with a doctor and then add the reversal (upset in a down clue) of a Conservative politician to get a fungal timber decay that can cause serious damage

The Crossword Club is now open.  Feel free to leave comments.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers or alternative clues in your comment, else they may be censored!

The Quick crossword pun: {apple} + {Asians} = {Appalachians}

105 comments on “DT 26804 (Hints)

  1. Enjoyed this. NW corner last to go in. Bottom half quickly completed. Last in 3d, D’oh moment 9a, Best clue 7d.

  2. Re;3d How are you supposed to work out that was needed was the Australian name for the English? A stretch to far in what was a reasonable challenge for a Saturday methinks.Thanks to setter & to BD as usual.

    1. Well, I thought it was good. The first half is a cleaning utensil reversed, and you know you’re looking for a decoration so the Oz word for an English person just fits in. :-)

      1. I don’t think it is meant to be a cleaning utensil reversed. It is the verb reversed. I did not have a real problem with the lack of reference to Australian when the penny dropped. Just think it was quite hard to solve as there were lots of alternatives to explore which led me down many blind alleys.

              1. ditto :-) how are we meant to know the setter wants the Australian word for English, it’s a no no for me

                  1. Enjoyed 3d once I got it and a big d’oh moment. I too was looking for the usual E for English :smile:

  3. Really enjoyed this today! First in was 16a, last in was 23a – that took some staring at and then it was D’oh as the penny dropped!!! Favourites were 9a, 13a, 6d, 7d and 19d. Off to slap a ******** on the chicken!

    1. Interesting what we find easy/difficult. I had a problem with 23a. Unfortunately never a fan of Alice and could not get beyond hallucinate! Got it eventually when realised an anagram but had to Google to find out why!

  4. Enjoyed all except for 9a and 3d which made me suffer for longer than it took to do the rest!
    Really disliked 3d, doesn’t work for me on any level, just makes me go GGrrrrrrrr!

  5. Enjoying todays puzzle, only one problem 12 d must be a phrase i’ve not heard of any tip would be appreciated

    1. It’s a phrase for a self indulgent lifestyle but in another language. You don’t have to be a linguist however to have heard the expression.

        1. Surely, no one forgets Anita Ekberg getting soaking wet in a fRome fountain?
          Inspired the Wet Tee Shirt competition.

    2. Film starring Anita Eckberg, Marcello Mastroianni and directed by Federico Fellini.

  6. Enjoyed this one, agree about 3d, put it in and found it hard to relate to clue.

    Liked the anagrams, now going to devote the rest of today to 12d.

  7. Fairly straightforward today **/**** for me. Agree with previous comments about 3d. Won’t be posting many more of these off due to the predicted astronomical increase in postage, Thanx to Compiler and BD as usual.

    1. I’m with you on the postage – Royal Mail must be insane! It looks like my lifelong quest for the famous pen will end in failure, and I will have to be content with a consolation prize a couple of years ago. The fact that I no longer use a fountain pen is irrevelant!

  8. I too was left wondering how I’d got the answer to 3d as I was only half there, breaking it down, so thank you for the explanation, Dave, as I doubt whether the penny would have dropped otherwise. However, I was curious about 21a – as I am used to the word containing an ‘s’ – but the Blessed Chambers shows both words for the definition.

      1. NO time yesterday to sit and enjoy the crossword with tea, so got around to it this morning. 21a last one in (I, too, believed the word needs an “s”.

        I also join the complaints about 3d – it needs some further indication I think. I worked it out backwards, from making the answer fit the clue, and I have a general unease about having to know the answer to work it out.

        On to the ST, now.

  9. Enjoyable puzzle. Going against the trend, 3d was one of my favourites. No help needed today, but thanks to BD.

  10. Quite enjoyable especially 19d. A bit of trouble with 2d since all of the across letters suggested an anagram of Ruling but once I’d got that out of my system then fine. The NE corner posed a few early problems too, 5a and 7d being my final entries.

  11. This was a very slow starter for me. First time through I only had four words, then that 15a revealed itself and the rest just fell into place. No great problems but many enjoyable clues. I specially liked 1 and 15a and 3, 12, 19 and 20d. Thanks to BD and the setter. Have a good weekend, everyone! :-)

  12. THe NW corner held me up longer than it ought. Quite a few to think about today. Thanks to the Mysteron and BD too.

  13. I enjoyed this very much – perhaps a bit easier than recent Saturdays. My only minor quibble is with 6d – I know we all know what it means but it’s an old fashioned word and they call themselves Medical Social Workers now. I was terribly slow to get 16a, and several others all in the bottom left corner. I liked 11, 16, 21 and 26a and 3, 7, 8 and 12d. Clue of the day was, for me, 19d. With thanks to the setter and BD although, for once, I didn’t need any hints. Will have a go at NTSPP this evening when it gets dark.
    Off to do some gardening in the sun now – have a good weekend everyone. :smile:

      1. We’ve had really thick fog that has not lifted for the last two days but today is lovely – the forecast is for heavy rain tomorrow and Monday so need to make the most of today. :smile:

    1. I agree about the word in 6d. I suppose its origin was in doling out charity, but when my Great Aunt needed the services of one in a London hospital in the 1960s she seemed to be a very grand person with a fascinating job. Quite appealed to me at the time.

  14. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should try today’s NTSPP (have a look at the right hand column of this blog, it is at the top of the Recent Posts). It is a super lunchtime diversion from Bufo. Go on, have a go, you know you want to…!

    1. I’ve just printed this out and will do it this evening while husband cooks supper, hopefully! Don’t quite know what I’ve done as it’s VERY small – can only just read the clues and the numbers on the grid.

  15. 3d was last in for me and a perfectly acceptable clue, I thought.
    It would have helped if I hadn’t inserted “regulate” at 9a, before the famous penny dropped – that was probably my CotD.
    Thanks BD & setter – a refreshing interlude on a dull day in Heavenly Henfield.

  16. Congratulations Prolixic on winning COW this week :-) , must admit I didn’t know about the currency!

  17. No complaints from me today. Thanks to setter, and to BD.
    Having just glossed a couple of doors, I think I will go and levitate above the bed for an hour or so! :)

  18. Wow, that was hard for a Saturday – although Kath (above) thought it easier!

    To Big Dave – you’re probably a much better cook than me (‘most everyone is!) but where does the “alcoholic” come from in your hint for 8D? The COED definition (all I have to hand) describes it as “a mixture of oil, vinegar, and spices”, which seems much closer to what SWMBO is seen to use, when I am granted entry to her centre of culinary excellence.

    1. From Chambers, who obviously have better recipes than the COED.

      The ODE gives “a mixture of oil, wine, spices, or similar ingredients, in which meat, fish, or other food is soaked before cooking in order to flavour or soften it”.

      While Chambers is the Telegraph’s dictionary-of-choice the ODE is a better bet than the concise version, which Countdown scrapped after realising that some obvious words had been omitted – roadside seems to ring a bell.

      1. Thanks for that! The COED doesn’t have the Chambers jokes either (e.g. eclair) :-)

        1. BTW, there is a BRB in my bookcase, but the COED is the only digital one that I own…

            1. Thanks for the tip – I see what you mean, £75 isn’t cheap, I shall have to start dropping hints to the family :-)

    2. THe compilers of Chambers Dictionary obviously, like me, put wine in a *******. BD’s hint closely mirrors the Chambers definition of a ********.

      1. Hi sue late today and just have NE corner to go, thinking 8d was AD in marine but seeing as you have mentioned it twice above it must be wrong???

          1. :oops: Very very naughty but then I have got lemon cake in the tin and no-one else seems to have noticed. Perhaps I got away with it while BD is having a cup of tea or something.

            1. Well I wouldn’t go if he doesn’t spot it but I think there is someone waiting there for some cake :-)

  19. All done with some help from the hints, for which as always many thanks BD, except for the NE corner which has me tearing my hair out ! Any help with7d would be more than welcome. Weather in Swanage sunny with a bit of a breeze to keep our “Blues Festival” revellers cool !!

    1. Hello Pete – NE corner took me longest too and I still don’t fully understand 8d though I’m pretty sure I have it right. 7d – the last letter (finally) of “officers” followed by a 2-word phrase for what you pop out for when you are feeling too lazy to cook (though the second word is more usually a 4-letter word, in my part of the world anyway) and the whole is a term for a surveillance operation. Bit laboured – hope it helps??

      1. Thanks Addicted, I was convinced the second word was what burgers are served in – which wasn’t helping ! Think I can finish now and then relax with a cup of tea ………… or something !

        1. Amazing what a cuppa can do! Finished with a Doh! moment with 5a. Don’t understand the relevance of Colonist in 12a or the connection between a new hospital and the/my answer in 11a.

          Learning, learning always learning !

          1. Hi Dinosaur Pete,

            Re 12a – the definition is “light” the colonist could be described as someone who puts things in the ground without his first letter (losing head) with “N” from the clue (Northern)

            11a – the definition is “access point” – you need a tuneller (one of the beastly little things that wreck your garden and leave piles of earth everywhere) around “a” from the clue, “N” for new and “H” for hospital.

            Hope this helps – it sounds a bit long winded – have to take my hat (if I had such a thing) off to the clever guys who provide us all with such succinct hints every day.

            1. Thank you Kath, must say 12a left me a bit cold – I always think of colonists as folks who lay claim to territory but yes, I guess vegetation colonises the ground !

              11a. just seen the bit about something going round a,n,&h. Doh again !

              See you all next weekend, have a good week.

  20. Generally good fun. Nothing outstanding, but for some reason struggled with the SE corner. 19d last in. Thanks to all. Have a good weekend.

  21. Managed that though didn’t find it particularly easy. Thanks to setter and BD for hints – question: 8d – are you saying that “jolly” is slang for a soldier who serves aboard ship? Never knew that!

    1. Yes

      Usually it results in “RM” in the answer, but that usage is contentious as a jolly is singular and RM is plural.

      1. Thank you! One is never too old to learn!! Must remember this and file it away – am sure it will crop up again somewhere?

  22. OK finished, I really hate it when I can’t do the crossword in the mornings, my mind is too much on other things by now, had help from Dave for one or two, thanks Dave :- , I didn’t find it one of the easier Saturday puzzles with the NE corner being last to go in, fav clues today 13a and 20d, 3d doesn’t seem quite right to me, got stuck on 7d because the last word for us is always ‘away’ !

    1. You are looking for a kind of light. Take the kind of colonist that cultivated India; remove the first letter and add N(orth) at the end.

        1. If you want :oops: you need to do :colon oops colon: with no spaces! I love that one and use it all the time – probably too much!!

    1. Take out the third fourth and fifth letters. That’s the ‘for each’ then reverse the letters you have left over and that is the ancient city.

      1. Blimey CS that’s a bit complicated, thanks very much.

        I really enjoyed this puzzle which is normally the case on Saturdays. Thanks to BD for the hints (which I used) and to the setter (whoever he is)

        1. I challenge you to explain it in a less complicated way without mentioning the solution or its component parts ‘out loud’

            1. I am there already and there is some very nice lemon sponge, if I say so myself what made it :D

    1. Steph – you need to click on ‘reply ‘ by the comment to which you are replying otherwise your comment just appears at the end of the list and not in the right place and confuses the bewildered – well it did me anyway :D.

    1. I need help every week and still don’t always finish ! Perseveration pays – apparently !

  23. Thanks to the setter & Big Dave for the hints. Enjoyed this, some nice clues. Favourites were 5 & 11a.

  24. Hola from Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol. And we have free WiFi . . . but only in the club bar!!!!
    How sad :) we’ll just have to come here everyday to do the crossword.

    Found today a bit tricky but once we finished it we thought “Why did we find so hard?”

    Speak again soon peeps

    Regards from me and pommette too!

  25. Surprised there are no comments about 2d – the link between the first word of the clue and the answer doesn’t seem quite right to me – are the two words meant to be regarded as verbs or adjectives?
    Saw some discussion about dictionaries – I may be ‘teaching my grandma to suck eggs’ but are all aware that you can access the full OED (and other reference books) on-line using your (digital) local Library Card?

    1. What about “Prince ******” I think it’s fine and, if it wasn’t, someone else would probably have questioned it. Re reference books the one that is regarded as “The Bible” for crosswords is “The Chambers Dictionary” – used to be the 11th edition but I think there is now a newer version – probably the 12th!!

      1. ‘Chambers’ may be the crossworders’ “bible”, but many bibles come without an “apocrypha” – why short change yourself when the best dictionary in the world is available?

  26. Good morning folks. Did not get to look at this until late last night as I took my sons to watch the might West Brom defeat the less than mighty Chelsea. Great win! I found it fairly okay 19d being my favourite. 3d was also quite nice – I believe the origin is Prisoner of Mother England.

  27. A late start yesterday from me and a slightly later finish than usual with a few clues hanging out for a while. Quite a good Prize Puzzle I thought. Thanks to the setter and BD.

    1. Hi Sean – welcome to the blog. Sorry about the delay in getting your first comment moderated.

      2d Ruling about well-bred chap (6)
      The definition is ruling. A prefix (2) meaning about or concerning is followed by a well-bred chap (4).

    2. Sean,

      Please see Kath’s pointer in comment 20 for hint on 11a – as succinct as it can be.

      2d) Ruling about well-bred chap (6) – YOu need a short abbreviation for a word meaning ‘about/concerning’ followed by an abbreviation of a well bred man. The definition is ‘Ruling’ and is a present participle from a Latin stem.

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