DT 26814 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26814

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26814

Hints and tips by Digby

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A reshuffle of the Blogging Brigade means that you get me today, tackling what BD warned me as being a bit tricky. The bark wasn’t perhaps quite as bad as the bite, and I  found it to be a fair and challenging puzzle, with a couple of clues that lifted it just above 3* difficulty. It wouldn’t have been totally out of place on the Toughie page, but regular solvers should not be put off by that.

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.


8a           Sign in west obscured by sun (7)
{WITNESS} We start with an anagram (obscured) of IN WEST, followed by S(un) meaning to verify a document’s authenticity.

10a         Explorer with outfit imbibing drink in front of hotel (7)
{RALEIGH} This British explorer cropped up a few weeks ago (DT 26775). Take a synonym for outfit and insert (imbibe) a word for beer, then add H(otel)

11a         Decrease vote for military award (4,5)
{IRON CROSS} Nice wordplay, where decrease is what one does on a board, followed by the mark made on a voting form. The result is one of Germany’s highest military awards.

12a         Shot along in Grand Prix from the back producing damage to car (5)
{PRANG} Shot along translates to “moved at pace”, within PG (Grand Prix reversed) – this term for a collision results. Possibly as a result of applying 17d?

13a         Trouble close to raging fire out of control (5)
{GRIEF} The final letter (close) of raginG and an anagram (out of control) of FIRE produces trouble, or anguish

14a         Lunatic in cycling helmet? (7)
{NUTCASE} Double definition, the second describing the role of a cycling helmet

17a         Value considerably parking facility around Harrods, say (3,5,5,2)
{LAY GREAT STORE BY} Take a description (5,5) of Harrods (or Printemps) and insert this into where you pull off the road for a rest, to derive this expression for having great regard for something. (Comments below suggest that this phrase is more commonly seen with SET as the first word)

19a         Baseball player’s means to carry liquid (7)
{PITCHER} A double definition of the “bowler” in the US game that I could never fully appreciate (just not cricket, you know!) and a vessel used to carry water, wine etc.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

21a         Man say getting offer to include exercise (5)
{BIPED} A definition of man’s (or woman’s) standing on two feet is derived from an offer made at an auction outside (including) the standard abbreviation for exercise.

24a         Suit maybe beginning to tangle beside bottom (5)
{TRUMP} The card suit selected to outweigh all others in, say, a hand of bridge, is formed from T(angle) and a word for rear-end.

26a         Welsh place left secure beside rough mound miles away (9)
{LLANDUDNO} This Welsh town is perhaps better known than a fairly recent example, and is constructed from L(eft); to secure, as in a fish; and an anagram (rough) of mOUND (Miles away)

27a         Salvation Army blocks unrefined moral campaign (7)
{CRUSADE} Insert the abbreviation for the “Sally Army” inside a term for unrefined (oil, for example)

28a         Travel regularly with second tiny building let out (7)
{SHUTTLE} This mode of frequent transport (London to Edinburgh flights / Eurotunnel / Space) is constructed from S(econd); a small wooden building; and an anagram (out) of LET


1d           A section of a party around North getting coverage? (6)
{AWNING} A (from the clue) and the typically Right, or Left, faction of a political party, with N inserted, produces something to keep the sun off your patio. (Not needed in this part of West Sussex this morning!)

2d           Communist almost invading a business district, a terrible act (8)
{ATROCITY} Take A, and a term for the business district (of London, for example) and insert a term for a communist, missing the final letter. The sort of thing sadly going on in Syria at present.

3d           Other chef cooking around back of kitchen from now (10)
{HENCEFORTH} An anagram (cooking) of OTHER CHEF around the back of kitcheN derives an adverb pointing towards the future. One hears the term “going forward” nowadays – not keen on it myself.

4d           Speed is hazard traversing black loch (9)
{BRISKNESS} The definition is speed. Take B(lack) and the (most?) famous Scottish loch, and insert a noun meaning hazard

5d           Trim container for ammunition (4)
{CLIP} Double definition of a verb, followed by something used to store bullets

6d           Agents detaining dishonourable fellow, chirpy type (6)
{CICADA} This one just about merits The Order of the Chestnut – The US Intelligence (oxy-moron?) Agency, with a “rotter” inside (detaining) produces this chirpy type of cricket

7d           Try huge walkabout round middle of jungles to see gorillas’ behaviour? (8)
{THUGGERY} An anagram (walkabout) of TRY HUGE, with (jun)G(les) inserted derives a term describing gorillas’ behaviour. Not the ape variety – think gangsters.

9d           Identify awkward situation (4)
{SPOT} A double definition – the awkward situation is often expressed as “in a ****”

15d         Outing to take in endlessly dissolute chap and awful singer (10)
{TROUBADOUR} It took me a while to work out the required definition from the rest of the fodder. We are looking for a singer, or poet, from the Middle Ages. A word (4) for trip; insert (take in) a French term for a rogue, missing the final letter, and a synonym (3) for awful.

16d         Brief sale planned for artistic work (3-6)
{BAS-RELIEF} This form of artistic sculpture (other examples being High- and Medium-) is an anagram (planned) of BRIEF SALE

17d         Foolish person left for daughter cosmetic accessory (8)
{LIPSTICK} Substitute D(aughter) for L(eft) in a term for a foolish person (as in Rodney / “Fools & Horses”) to derive what is often applied in the reversing mirror on the way to work. Amusing, but I think we might have seen a similar clue recently?

18d         Hasten start of punt in river before change in tide (8)
{EXPEDITE} A river in Devon, with P(unt) inserted followed by an anagram (change in) TIDE means to hurry up

20d         Greek character restricted trick in house (6)
{TAURUS} The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and a synonym for trick with the final letter missing, together build this House of the Bull. Click here for an explanation of the houses of the horoscope.

22d         Rob front of office in port (2,4)
{DO OVER} A phrasal verb meaning to rob – often from a house – is derived from a well-known port in Kent with O(ffice) inserted

23d         Some top assists, common feature of a football game (4)
{PASS} Hidden (some) in two of the words in the clue is a verb, or noun, that features in all forms of this sport

25d         Idea from timeless factory (4)
{PLAN} Another chestnut with which to finish – a factory, missing the last letter (T) = idea, or scheme

The mist outside my office hasn’t lifted yet, but this workout has cleared the fog that was in my brain. I suppose that 15d made me work the hardest, so probably my CotD – but what do you think?

The Quick crossword pun: {myrrh} + {Curie} = {mercury}

44 comments on “DT 26814

  1. Not too difficult, but thought it a bit spoilt by too many end/beginning of word indicators for single letters. Also in 4d the use of traversing is wrong. It is given in Chambers as a container indicator (going around a word) rather than an insertion indicator (well it doesn’t actually have traversing but gives crossing, anyway). That threw me a bit and was last in for that reason. Still, I liked the cycling helmet one, nice one.

    1. I agree ***/*** looked harder than it was-did mine in ‘quarters’ for some reason,best of week so far for me slightly harder than mon,tue wed, a few convoluted clues-toughie style,like15d,26a.With regard to 4d, it depends on how you read the clue,it means to say ,that speed is obtained by a hazard with’ a traversing black loch’ ie the black loch traverses or goes across or round the hazard.
      Or as spencer tracy said ‘bad day at black loch’

  2. Found this one really tough.

    Liked 11a,27a and 15d (which I filled in without understanding quite why.

    Still great fun, thanks for hints and tips.

    Easy one tomorrow please, got a full day.

  3. Best back pager of the week so far, I was held up for a wee while as I had put “set” as the first part of 17a. Very enjoyable crossword! Many thanks to the setter and to Digby for a cracking review.

  4. BD, I seem to be having a problem posting on the site, it wont accept my normal avatar ( desperate dan ) I had to use my facebook log-in. I kept being told to log in to post, what am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi BigBoab – Desperate Dan appears to be working now – for a wee while your avatar was the cross of St Andrew, but normal service is now resumed.

  5. I found this hard as well but got there in the end. Needed the hints to find out why some of my answers were correct. Thanks to Digby for the review and the naughty comment on 12a.

  6. Great crossword, got there (always unaided) after attacking it from all quarters.
    Liked 20d for its reference to a house.
    Thanks Digby for review and the setter.

  7. I found this one really hard. It took me ages to get going and even with your wonderful hints, I still could not finish it – 1a, 10 a and 4d stumped me and I would never have got 17a on my own.

  8. Most gentle, but most fun! The only part I needed to check was the first 3 letters of 16d (my A-level French was 25 years ago!).
    Thanks to setter, and to Digby.

    The other puzzle by Warbler is not so Tough today, and quite enjoyable.

  9. One where the downs went in quicker than the acrosses. Only hold up was with the ‘apes’ in 7d but it didn’t take me long to sort that anagram and the rest of it out. I quite liked 17d. Thanks to the Thurday Mysteron and to Digby too. We actually have sun today, first time since the weekend. Causing quite a few of the young ladies round here to ‘cast a clout’.

    The Warbler toughie is enjoyable, with a theme that should enable everyone to have a go.

  10. I enjoyed this one but thought it was quite difficult – was also rather hoping for a Ray T today! Definitely at least a 3* for me. I eventually gave up and used the hint for 8a – silly – should have got that one but was trying to make it an anagram of “west” and “sun”. 4d also caused a few problems as did 20d. I’ve only heard the phrase in 17a begin with “set” but already had the “L” – otherwise I’d have been in trouble!! I liked 12a and 3, 7, 9 and 16d. Best was 17d. With thanks to the setter and Digby.

  11. I agree, best of the week so far, but still maybe easier than a normal Thursday? I also agree about 17a, I know the phrase best starting with SET. Digby, check the answer hidden in the brackets for 25d. Thanks to setter and Digby.

  12. A good two stopper for me today with lots to enjoy in the cluing. Perhaps the illustration for 12a is in slightly bad taste given the recent Belgian coach disaster!

    Thanks to the setter and to Digby for the review.

      1. I agree with Prolixic – a totally inappropriate film clip given this week’s terrible crash.

        1. Now that I have been made aware of the accident (too busy doing the review to watch or read the news) the offending clip has been removed.

  13. Afternoon Digby

    I thought this was a quite elegant crossword with some very well constructed clues. Favourites have to be 14a, 16d and 17d.

    Pommette reckons it’s **/**** and she solved most of it without the slightest bit of help from me!

    Many thanks to the mysteron and can we have more like this one please. Also thanks to Digby for another entertaining review.

  14. Why are we getting Toughies on the back page again? Pease DT save these for the inside of the paper. For me at least. 5 star for difficulty and as I can’t make head nor tail of any clue then it must be a 1 star for enjoyment.

    1. So glad to read your comment Brian – was beginning to think I was the only one who found this almost impossible!! Mind you, I haven’t had much of a “sit” at it to-day, but even so…….!

  15. Only a minor query. I’ve just Googled “House of the Bull” and “Sign of the Bull”. After my extensive research which consisted of looking at one page for each search, only the latter mentioned Star Signs. So where does this “House” reference come from in 20d. (Note to self:I really must get some reference books)

    1. Hi Bob, Please see the link now inserted into the hint for this clue. Wikipedia is cheaper than reference books!

  16. Is Mary having an influence of the setters this week? Seems to be lots of Welsh place names :-)
    Lovely place even if they do seem to have misplaced the English vowels.

  17. Enjoyable yet relatively easy puzzle to solve.

    Likes : 11a, 14a, 24a, 6d, 15d & 17d.

    26a was for Mary!!

    Just a minor quibble –
    Re 17a – as others remark – I first had Set for the first word – I suppose one can argue that Lay is an antonym but the phrase with Lay does not appear in the BRB!

    1. If I felt like arguing I’d probably argue that “lay” and “set” are synonyms! :smile:

        1. It doesn’t sound to me as if you’re getting old – if you are, then you’re doing it very well. :smile:

  18. First read through, thought I would never get anywhere ,however ,slowly and surely things fell into place and found it very enjoyable. The first word of 17a did hold me up a bit. :smile:

  19. I found this a tough one and had three goes at it before it was completed. 17a threw me, like many others, and I had written SET very lightly as it didn’t tie up with parking facility. Got it in the end. Like crypticsue I found the downers easier to start with and began with 6d, 7d, 23d and 9d. Last in was 8a as 1d held me up.***/**** from me. Thanks to Digby and the setter.

    1. I know she set off shopping just after 11 this morning – perhaps she is still wandering round a Welsh shopping centre.

      1. She has written to me to say that she is being asked to log on to leave a comment. I can’t suggest anything to help – can anyone else?

        1. Yes, I have been having the same problem. I had to go to homepage of the blog page (given on the page that opens when trying to post) and click on the log on button and renter my password. (I presumed it was the same as the avatar log on.) There was no direct link on the home page, I had to enter it in a new tab/ page. Hope this helps.

  20. Nice puzzle again today. Agree with ***/***
    Enjoyed 1, 2, 4 and 20d (last one in)
    Bit of a stop start day for me interrupted by having to do some work… I’m supposed to be retired!

  21. Mysteron unmasked – thanks to Digby for his blog and all for comments which are helpful to see!

    1. Good morning, Shamus. Thanks for dropping by and unmasking yourself. Many of our bloggers really do like to know who compiles the puzzles, and have great fun trying to spot a style, trademark etc. Naturally we see a wide range of views and assessments, but the consensus on this one puts it towards the top end of back page difficulty – we have had seen less taxing challenges from the Toughie.

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