DT 26820 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26820

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26820

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

This is what a back-page puzzle should be like – not so easy that even the brain-dead can do it and not so difficult that only Einstein can solve it. Disagree if you like, but this is less-than-Toughie standard, and, surprise surprise, it’s from the hand of Ray T!

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.


7a    Life for American facing stir in American state (8)
{COLORADO} – a charade of the American spelling of a word meaning life or richness and a stir or commotion gives this American state

9a    Hardy or Dickens character (6)
{OLIVER} – two definitions – the first name of the Hardy who partnered Laurel and of the eponymous hero of a book by Charles Dickens

10a    Formerly single, going round clubs (4)
{ONCE} – a word meaning formerly is created by putting a single around C(lubs)

11a    Seize criminal one’s caught in end (10)
{CONFISCATE} – a verb meaning to seize is derived from the usual three-letter criminal followed by I’S (one’s) and C(aught) inside the end or destiny

12a    Break off in Hebrides is taken (6)
{DESIST} – a verb meaning to break off is hidden in the clue

14a    Sweat with energy then test deodorant perhaps? (8)
{TOILETRY} – a charade of a verb meaning to sweat or graft, E(nergy) and a test gives what could (perhaps) be a deodorant

15a    Drain drink slowly, darling (6)
{SIPHON} – this verb meaning to drain or draw off is a charade of a verb meaning to drink slowly and a short word for a darling or sweetheart

17a    English band’s backing ‘Gaga’ (6)
{SENILE} – reverse (backing) E(nglish), a band and the S from ‘S to get a word meaning gaga or decrepit

This was a Queen song long before anyone had heard of the vastly over-rated unattractive American woman

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20a    Teheran vacillating after Tory leader’s menace (8)
{THREATEN} – put an anagram (vacillating) of TEHERAN after the initial letter (leader) of Tory to get a verb meaning to menace

22a    Title heard from composer (6)
{HANDEL} – when the homophone indicator is placed between the two parts of the wordplay I often find it difficult to know which of the two is the definition – here what sounds like a title is the name of a German-born composer, resident in England from 1712

23a    Injured in trauma, so getting here (10)
{SANATORIUM} – an anagram (injured) of IN TRAUMA SO gives where you might end up

24a    Bond performance chasing heart of Octopussy (4)
{PACT} – this bond or alliance is created by putting a performance after (chasing) the middle letter (heart) of OctoPussy

25a    Disorder is rampant on street (6)
{STRIFE} – to get this disorder put an adjective meaning rampant after ST(reet)

26a    Maybe bowled six balls before dark (8)
{OVERCAST} – a verb meaning bowled or thrown is preceded by (before) a series of six balls in cricket to get an adjective meaning dark or cloudy


1d           ‘The Game’ from Queen contained in discs (8)
{ROUNDERS} – to get this game that the Americans reinvented as baseball put Ray T’s signature abbreviation of Queen inside some discs

2d           Bird’s very female exterior (4)
{DOVE} – a bird of peace is derived by putting V(ery) inside a female deer or rabbit

3d           Yank tap? (6)
{FAUCET} – the US word for a tap

4d           International detectives involved in domestic killing (8)
{HOMICIDE} – put I(nternational) and some detectives inside (involved in) an adjective meaning domesticto get this killing

5d           Consider it poor judgement (10)
{DISCRETION} – an anagram (poor) of CONSIDER IT gives this judgement

6d           Train soldiers on hill (6)
{MENTOR} – this verb meaning to train or advise  is a charade of some soldiers (3) and a hill

8d           Fancy talk about new beginning (6)
{ORNATE} – an adjective meaning fancy is derived by putting a verb meaning to talk around the initial letter (beginning) of New

13d         Producer of opera is prim dropping piano rendition (10)
{IMPRESARIO} – this producer or promoter is an anagram (rendition) of opera is prim dropping piano

16d         Dodo and emu, with time, possibly obsolescent (8)
{OUTMODED} – an anagram (possibly) of DODO and EMU with T(ime) gives an adjective meaning obsolescent

18d         Use tax cut by empty Exchequer (8)
{EXERCISE} – this verb meaning to use is created placing a tax around (cut by) the outside letters (empty) of ExchequeR

19d         Turn up wearing fashionable old this colour (6)
{INDIGO} put a verb meaning to turn up soil in the garden between (wearing) a word meaning fashionable and O(ld) to get this colour

21d         Former PM accepting Liberal constitution (6)
{HEALTH} – put the surname of a former Prime Minister around (accepting) L(iberal) to get constitution or fitness – particularly apposite as, whatever else he was, this PM whose views were somewhere to the left of Michael Foot was not a Tory

22d         Small country location for Shakespeare play (6)
{HAMLET} – a double definition – a village without a church and a play by William Shakespeare

24d         Plant extremely chaste kiss initially (4)
{PECK} – the initial letters of the first four words spell out a verb meaning to kiss which is defined by the whole clue

Not particularly cheeky today – perhaps next time!

The Quick crossword pun: {note} + {rubble} = {no trouble}

79 comments on “DT 26820

  1. Thanks to RayT for the fun puzzle, and to BD for the notes.
    Favourite clues 14a and 15a (the latter made me laugh). My last one in was 2d, which I should really have spotted earlier.

    I did not find the other puzzle by Giovanni all that straightforward today.

  2. A low inuendo count for a Ray T, but enjoyable. Liked 1a and 15a. Thought 18d was nicely topical. I await the down clues to fully explain 19d, though I’m sure the answer is correct.

  3. I really enjoyed this even if Ray T hasn’t got his “naughty hat” on today. My last ones were 10a and 2d – the beastly little four letter ones. I wouldn’t have known which kind of 24a it was but already had the “E” so it wasn’t a problem. 18a was fairly topical. My favourites include 14 and 15a and 2,3 and 24d. With thanks to Ray T and BD.

    1. Sweet Peas are my favourites too Kath, we don’t seem to be having the warm weather to the extent you are, my other half is in Brittany at the moment and he says it is really hot in the sun Duh! :-(

      1. If it cheers you up at all it’s not quite as warm here today – sunny(ish) but chilly NE wind. It’s always my ambition to have sweet peas out by my birthday which is right at the beginning of June – only ever achieved that a couple of times.

  4. Good morning Dave, yes it’s definitely a RayT love him or hate him (I’m somewhere in the middle) no laughs here for me today though, two Queen references if you count Gaga, took me ages to work out how I got that! Once again I had things the wrong way round in 22a, to me the clue suggests we are looking for a word for ‘title’ from homphone of composer? so of course this didn’t help at all with 18d! never heard of life for color before, one and only clue I liked was 4d, in 2d does ‘doe’ specifically imply ‘female’ there are hundreds of female animals, it wasn’t even indicated that we were looking for an animal as far as I can see? this was last in for me, good luck all, a three star for me today, all you avid RayT fans enjoy :-)

    1. Hi Mary, I’m with you on 2d, I was trying to fit in f and e being the exterior letters of female!

      1. Hi Jackie I have just looked in the Chambers crossword dictionary and it actually does give ‘doe’ as a synonym for female!! well I never who’d have thought it!

          1. I couldn’t be without it it’s brilliant, not to be confused with Chambers Dictionary, the big red book!

  5. Lots of fun with this today – a few amusing ones. First in 20a, last in 24d. Thanks to Big Dave for the Hints and Tips :-)

  6. I think my ahem forthright comment yesterday about surnames of daytime TV bit part performers being used in clues moight have been moderated out. Sorry! I still don’t think having the surname of the lass in dictionary corner on Countdown is kosher.

    1. William Geddes aka WBGeddes (I presume). Your comment with reference to Susie Dent from Countdown is still there!

      Maybe, you’ve been looking in the wrong place. It was (and still is) in yesterday’s Toughie blog. You even get a mention from the compiler!

      1. Franco – thanks for troubling to respond. You are right! it wasn’t moderated but i cant find BDs reply appended. It matters not

        1. WBG this is what Elkamere aka Anax posted yesterday:

          Hello all. At long last, time to pay a proper visit (been wrestling with a new puzzle all day then following the Man City match, both leaving me exhausted). Thanks as ever to Gazza for the review and to all for your comments. It’s a little less fluffy slippers than I remember. I’ve solved about half of it, he-he.

          And that wbgeddes chappie needs to realise that describing the woman I love* as ‘peripheral’ is fighting talk where I come from (where I come from being a rather lexicographically-based fantasy land) but I’m rubbish at fighting so I’ll leave it at that.

          *Not really.

          1. I suspect where Elkamere comes from might be not far from my own locale. If he is a City fan then I withdraw unconditionally my comments about the countdown clue so long as we can have a clue including ms Riley sometime perhaps allowing a picture opportunity ? CTID

  7. I enjoyed this puzzle today, just the right level for a Thursday. Apart from confusion over 2d, and my struggle with the ‘why’ for 7a until I had read the hints, it all went together very smoothly. Favourite clues 4d and 11a. Thanks to Ray T and BD for the hints.

  8. Really enjoyed today’s offering. Had a real Doh moment with 22d, was thinking far to deeply.. Once that went in the rest followed. Thanks again.

  9. Thanks to RayT for an enjoyable puzzle.
    BD needed you for 2d,10a which completely foxed me, the rest was relatively plain sailing. Thanks.

    Plain sailing, now that’s a good idea, off to Dover for a weekend on the water.

  10. It took me slightly longer than normal and did involve the application of Tippex in one line but I thoroughly enjoyed this very nice Ray T crossword. Thanks to him for a very nice start to Thursday and to BD for the applications.

    As Jezza says the ‘other’ puzzle is not at all straightforward – work intervened in my solving it but I am hoping that a morning’s “cogitation” will have done the trick.

    Afternoon off to do some essential shopping in town and then back home to enjoy this beautiful sunny day.

  11. I thought this nearly perfect as a challenge and for quality of clues. The one let down being 2d which I got but felt like others a bit vague.

  12. The usual great fare from RayT involving many different types of clue as usual. I was held up for a bit as I put ‘sippet’ in for 15a which made 16d rather difficult. Still, I got there in the end. Favourite amongst many was 14. I thought this was exactly the level that a backy should be.

  13. I think there is a typo in the hint to 18d. A synonym for ‘tax’ has the letters of E(xcheque)R inside (cut by).

  14. This one was very enjoyable. Favourite was 24d – I do like a good all in one and they don’t come much better than that!

    Thanks to RayT and Big Dave.

  15. Highly enjoyable crossword. Thanks to Ray T for the treat.

    Giovanni packs a punch in the Toughie today but with panache.

  16. I agree with Dave that this was about the right difficulty for regular solvers, i gave it ***/**** to,( i always decide on a mark before checking out the blog) i do the same with Lawro’s football scores’he’s as bad as i am.Liked a lot of the clues’.Knew i had the right answer to 7a but did’nt equate colour with life until i looked in my dictionary, it’s amazing after all these years to find out alternative meanings to common words-back to school!

  17. Well the blacksheepometer called this at just under 3 today. Plenty of anagrams to help along the way and nothing too much to frighten the horses.

    Didn’t 22A used to be on Countdown? I know I know I can’t leave a sore spot alone.

  18. Well, so much for having more time to comment this year!! But I have been keeping up with the blog, just about. Have just read yesterday’s and I don’t really care whether it’s officially a spider or not – no more pictures, please!!! Have pity on us arachnophobes!

    Today’s was an enjoyable puzzle with just 2 & 6d causing problems. I was convinced 2d must end with ‘fe’, and ‘very’ could be ‘so’, but unfortunately there’s no bird called a ‘sofe’ – I looked! :-( I had a complete mental block on the first half of 6d – I went through all the army abbreviations I could think of (TA, RE, OR, etc) but the relevant term just wasn’t forthcoming. Oh well. Thanks to RayT and BD.

    1. Hi AlisonS

      2d was my last in, and I must also confess to thinking ‘sofe’ at one point!

  19. Enjoyable puzzle from Ray.
    Liked : 1a, 15a, 17a, 26a, 2d, 13d, 18d & 19d.

    Weather very hot here today!

  20. Can’t believe it’s a Ray T I managed to do half of it. The right hand side is a bit of a blank though. I’m puzzled about 2d, where in the clue is there any indication that one should look for any sort of deer? Don’t get it at all.

    1. Well done Brian, I agree re 2d but as I said above I looked it up in Chambers Crossword Dictionary and it doe give ‘doe’ as a synonym for female! so no indication necessary I suppose, how doe comes to be a synonym for female I don’t know, maybe somebody can come up with a sentence using it in that respect???

      1. Hi Mary

        I suppose ‘doe’ is as acceptable a synonym for female as ‘dam’, which appears quite often in crosswords.

      2. Oh let’s see if I can make it easier hmmm:

        Doe – a deer, a female deer…….

        Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II – Ok – by no means a sentence. :smile:

      3. By no means a sentence, but Oscar Hammerstein II came up with:-

        Doe – a deer, a female deer
        RayT – a drop of golden sun……..

        1. Sorry about that, but there seems to be a problem with the commenting system. I forgot to sign in and so the Email and Name boxes were empty. I pressed “Post Comment” and I received no error message – many minutes later the comments appeared under “Anonymous” by which time I had added further “stupid” comments.

          If it’s of any use I’m using Google Chrome as the Browser. Sorry! :oops:

      4. Thanks Mary, I have the electronic version of Chambers and there all the references to Doe are to deer and other animals albeit female. Just think its a sloppy clue. Still today is the most I have ever managed from my nemesis but still find his puzzles dull.

  21. I really enjoyed this to-day .Thanks to Ray T and to BD for explaining 7a. I could see the stir part but for the “life” of me couldn’t see the rest. BD I don’t know why I can’t get your music videos and I was particularly disappointed when I couldn’t hear the Link Wray one you posted a few days back as I am a big fan. :smile:

  22. Today’s crossword matches the weather in Heavenly Henfield – light and sunny, with a soft breeze to freshen things up.
    For once the homophone wordplay worked for me – it’s the title that is heard from the answer = composer.
    Now, Toughie or Tennis? It’s not 26a, so 5d says the latter.
    Thanks to RayT & BD.

  23. A challenging enough puzzle today – once again it took a while to find some of the required synonyms making it enjoyable as ever. Thanks to BD and to RayT for the puzzle.

  24. Thanks to BD for the dissection, and to everybody else for the comments. My apologies for the lack of sauce, but sometimes I find myself unable to rise to the occasion…


    1. I, for one, really appreciated today’s puzzle as I was able while away three and half hours in a hospital waiting room and was able to complete it without help – no access to BD where I was! I really enjoyed it – thank goodness it wasn’t like Tuesday’s puzzle which I found virtually impossible. Many thanks, RayT

    2. I think that your comment more than makes up for the lack of smut, naughtiness or sauce in your puzzle!! :lol:

  25. I guessed 1d but don’t understand your explanation- I don’t get the reference to Queen could you explain? Many thanks

    1. Welcome to the blog Adam
      As a first time poster your comment required moderating but all subsequent posts with this username and email will go straight through.

      To answer your question, Queen is RayT’s favourite band and invariably appears in his Telegraph puzzles. The usual (but not only) abbreviation for Queen is ER (Elizabeth Regina).
      Hope that helps and I hope that you continue to post questions and comments.

      1. I’ve never really been sure whether Ray T is a royalist or a fan of the group. I think that your comment has cleared that up for me. Perhaps that is why he is so good at “Innuendo” – my favourite album by aforementioned band!

  26. A two-halver for me – half the clues went in really quite easily and the other half I got stuck on and needed hints – for which many thanks BD. Don’t like 7a – even with the English spelling, does it really mean life?? And 17a – is “line” really a synonym for “band”? Sounds a bit stretched to me, but am sure someone will kindly explain! Not my favourite but that’s probably because it beat me!! Nonetheless, thanks to Ray T for the brain workout.

    1. I was grumbling at that for a while myself, Addicted, particularly as it took me ages to get the answer!. I would say that Colo(u)r and life may be synonymous from an artistic point of view; ‘Local Colour’ meaning ‘The local inhabitants/life’

  27. A very enjoyable puzzle thank you. Will be away for a while watching the cricket in Galle. Thanks to Ray once again.

  28. Thanks to Ray T & Big Dave for the review & hints. Quite enjoyed this, but had 19d & 24a both wrong, had “invert” & “pair”, so I looked them up. Then needed 3 hints to finish. Couldn’t get 14a even though I only had 2 letters missing, duh :-) I think I need to visit Dunce’s Corner :-) Still, that said, an enjoyable puzzle. Favourites were 9& 15a.

  29. Late entry from Gloucestershire. Didn’t get much time to have a go at this during the day, but just finished it. For me this is just the right level. Enjoyed it a lot. Thanks to everybody.

  30. Seemed to be on the same wavelength with this one today and completed it quite quickly with no hints needed. Normally have a go in the mornings but didn’t start this one until 7pm. So maybe that’s the answer – only try cryptic crosswords when fully awake! Thanks to Ray T and BD.

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