DT 26816 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26816

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26816

A full review by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Every other Saturday we get a slightly trickier challenge from the Saturday Mysteron and this week’s puzzle was no exception.    When I had finished, I wasn’t sure I had found it as much fun as usual but doing the review it has certainly grown on me, not least because of my two favourite clues, highlighted in blue.


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1a Sewer makes water kind of miss lock (10)
SEAMSTRESS –  A lady who sews – a charade of SEA (water)  MS (a title used by the kind of ‘miss’ who doesn’t want people to know whether she is a Miss or a Mrs) and TRESS (lock of hair).

6a Ask to engage Queen’s composer (4)
BERG – To get  the Austrian composer , Alban BERG, simply insert , or engage, R (Regina, Queen) into BEG (ask)

9a Lady in charge joining church to miss flying (10)
CHAIRWOMAN – A lady who presides at an assembly or meeting –   CH (church) and AIRWOMAN (a ‘miss’ or woman who flies an aeroplane).

10a Bridge bidding system using a pass (4)
ACOL – I might not ever have played bridge but have done enough cryptic crosswords to know the name of a system of bidding in a game of bridge.   A (from the clue) and COL (a pass in a mountain range).

12a Play cricket getting ton having support on all sides of Stamford Bridge perhaps (12)
BATTLEGROUND –  This clue refers to the famous English Civil War BATTLEGROUND  rather than the home of Chelsea Football Club –  BAT (play cricket) T (ton), LEG (support) and ROUND (on all sides).

15a Senior lecturer back having received low grades (6)
READER – A higher grade of university lecturer –   Insert D E (lower grades than A, B, or C) into REAR (back).

16a May be still life in dog’s breathing, I’ll be bound (8)
PAINTING –   A still life is a type of painting.   Insert I (I’ll be bound) into PANTING (breathing in a gasping way as a dog might following strenuous exercise or when it is warm).

18a Chinese city’s press having got drunk (8)
SHANGHAI –  The Chinese city of SHANGHAI lends its name to a way of pressing or forcing sailors into naval service, usually by making them very drunk.

19a Intended to provide money, lacking one note (6)
FIANCE –  Intended is an informal term for a fiancé.   Just remove the first N (one note) from FINANCE , or provide money.

21a Ideal place for Strauss, a special musical talent (7,5)
PERFECT PITCH –   My second favourite clue of the day –   A lovely cryptic double definition – Andrew Strauss, the England cricketer would always hope that a cricket pitch would be perfect;   Johann Strauss, the composer, would hope that he and any musicians playing his works would have the ability to identify and remember a note accurately

24a Book’s self-dedication (4)
TOME –  A large scholarly book or volume if split 2, 2 would meaning that a writer, for example, might be dedicating their work to themselves or TO ME.

25a Production of Pinter seen with many twists (10)
SERPENTINE – an anagram, or production of PINTER SEEN makes an adjective meaning twisting, winding, snakelike or tortuous.

26a Ancient tribe’s king, a good-looking man (4)
HUNK – An informal term for a strong or sexually-active man is easily obtained by following a member of a savage nomadic race of Asia,  a HUN with K (king).

27a Cross about old soldier in north-east being stubborn (10)
INVETERATE – Stubborn, or deep-rootedly hostile –   Insert VET (an abbreviation commonly used for an American ex-serviceman) into NE (north east) and then insert the result into IRATE (cross).


1d Wine container (4)
SACK – A double definition to start the downs  – an old name for various dry white wines from Spain or the Canary Islands means the same as a large bag made of coarse fabric or thick paper.

2d Man with a mother? Yes and no (4)
ADAM –   The first man on earth didn’t have a mother (so that’s the no in the wordplay taken care of). However,  split his name 1, 3 and you get A DAM or a mother (usually of cattle or horses) hence the yes’ in the wordplay.

3d Lies with limbs outstretched, dressage leap having gone wrong (6-6)
SPREAD-EAGLES –  Puts in a position with the limbs stretched out.   An anagram (having gone wrong) of  DRESSAGE LEAP.

4d Original causes getting starlings primarily in flocks of nesting birds (6)
ROOSTS –  Flocks of birds sleeping together – simply insert S (primarily is a clear indicator that you need the first letter of starlings) into ROOTS (the origin, basis or start of anything).

5d He’s had to travel far and handle bangers overturning (8)
SPACEMAN –   A person who travels far away from earth is a reversal of two words  CAPS (bangers used in a toy gun) and NAME (handle being a slang term for one’s name).

7d Bars on six clues (cryptic) (10)
EXCLUSIONS –  Bars here means bans or excludes from entry.   An obvious anagram (cryptic) of ON SIX CLUES.

8d Scheming dogged girl, one seeking a fortune (4-6)
GOLD-DIGGER –   My top favourite clue.    An anagram (scheming) of DOGGED GIRL is of course a GOLD-DIGGER,  literally someone digging for gold in order to make their fortune.   However, a GOLD-DIGGER is also a term applied to a  scheming dogged girl,  ie a young lady seeking a fortune by using  an intimate relationship for personal gain.

11d Christmas present’s open — get angry (12)
FRANKINCENSE –  One of the presents given at the first Christmas.   FRANK (open , free) plus INCENSE (get angry).

13d Grumpy chap to pass through local area (10)
CROSSPATCH –  A term for an ill-natured person – CROSS (pass through) and PATCH (a local area regularly visited, patrolled or traded in).

14d Am cravenly yielding to soldiers (10)
CAVALRYMEN – Soldiers on horseback can be obtained from an anagram (yielding) of AM CRAVENLY.

17d Start to place two articles over temple (8)
PANTHEON – The temple of all the gods –   P (start or first letter of place) AN , THE (two articles) and ON (over).

20d Spot politician in big building (6)
PIMPLE –  A small raised spot on the skin – simply insert MP (Member of Parliament, politician) into PILE (a tall building).

22d Singer keen to rise (4)
DIVA –  A familiar ‘friend’ makes another appearance – reverse AVID (keen to rise)  and you get a great female singer, usually an operatic prima donna.

23d Lake — nothing more than that (4)
MERE –  A double definition –  as a noun MERE means a pool or lake; as an adjective it means only what is said and nothing more.

Thanks to the Mysteron once again for his fortnightly Saturday challenge.  All change again, so I will see you next Friday with my review of the Sunday cryptic.

2 comments on “DT 26816

  1. I used to think that the Saturday crossword was the easiest of the week. I only managed 11 clues with this one though. Yesterday’s was finished in less than an hour. Weird.

    1. For a long time the Saturday puzzle was set by Cephas, but now he alternates with the setter of this puzzle (who has yet to come on here and claim ownership!)

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